A recent poll, conducted by Ipsos on the behalf of Global News, suggests that the majority of Canadians would favour severing ties with their monarchy upon the death of the current Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The poll showed that 53% of respondents believe that upon the ascension of Charles, the Prince of Wales, to the throne the Canadian monarchy should be abolished. The figures shows a 10% increase since the visit of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children earlier last year.
Sean Simpson, Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs, believes that the results are only to be expected given the circumstances. For the past few years, attention has been rather fixed on the Canadian monarchy through a succession of major royal events, such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the birth of Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015, and the Queen’s 90th birthday this year. These events, according to Simpson, “inflated” support for the monarchy, and now we’re seeing what is essentially the default state of mood amongst Canadians whenever there isn’t any excitement being generated by Canadian royalty.
To use a certain phrase, absence makes the heart go yonder.
Of those who voted for the end of the Canadian Crown, the polls were split between 23% of those who strongly supported the motion and 29% who were only “somewhat” supportive. The strongest voices for a republic could be found in — where else? — Quebec, where 71% of respondents favoured a republic over the current constitution. Ontario was the least supportive, where 56% of respondents continued to maintain support for the Canadian Crown. Elsewhere, there was a consistent balance around the 45%-51% range, with Atlantic provinces generally being more supportive than western provinces. This is despite high support for The Queen herself, where no less than 81% of respondents believe that the Queen of Canada has done a good job, a slight 3% decrease from her birthday. Millennials and men tend to be more republican, whereas women and Canadians over 50 are more likely to be monarchists.
The poll also reveals some inconsistency and indecision amongst Canadians with regards to their thoughts on the Canadian monarchy and its role in Canadian society. Around 60% agree that the Canadian monarchy should not have a formal role within Canadian society, and that the Royal Family were celebrities and nothing more. However a similar number (61%) shows that the Canadian Monarchy helps define the Canadian identity, and should continue to be the Canadian form of government.
Another interesting revelation from the poll was the effect of the Netflix Original Series The Crown, a serial drama detailing the ascension and coronation of The Queen after the death of her father, King George VI. Around 13% of respondents had seen some or all ten episodes of the series, and these respondents tend to be more favourable to the monarchy than those who had never seen the series. Compared to their 80% rating, 88% of respondents who’d seen The Crown believed The Queen to have done a good job. 75% compared to 59% believe the Monarchy to define the Canadian identity, and 75% compared to 66% believe the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge help keep the monarchy relevant to modern Canadians.
It is not known if the results show that those who like the monarchy already are more likely to watch The Crown, or that the series itself helps to improve the image of the monarchy. Indeed, it may even be a mixture of both.
What can help lend credence is that viewing the series does not apparently influence how respondents vote in other areas. There’s about the same percentage to the norm of those who think the Canadian Royal Family are merely celebrities, and those who think Queen Elizabeth II should be the last Canadian monarch.