The monarchy’s popularity in Canada has fallen to its lowest level in 14 years, suggests a new poll released Wednesday by Research Co.
As King Charles’s May coronation draws closer, fewer than one in five Canadians, or 19 per cent of the 1,000 individuals surveyed, would like the monarch to remain Canada’s head of state.
While the King, personally, is viewed more favourably by Canadians, at 32 per cent, his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, was exactly twice as popular in February 2022, based on another Research Co. poll conducted before her death.
“We have known for years — when survey after survey showed Canadians identifying more with William than Charles — that sustaining the monarchy in this century would not be easy with an uncharismatic figure,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., in an article published to the company’s website Tuesday.
“Some may have expected the King to grow into his role and generate more favourable opinions. The first six months on the ‘top job’ have clearly not been kind,” he said.
Other members of the royal family have also seen their personal popularity decline since the queen’s death in September, when the sentiment towards the monarchy was generally more favourable.
The poll indicates only 22 per cent of respondents have a favourable opinion of Camilla, the Queen Consort.
William and Catherine, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are viewed more favourably, both at 54 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, some 46 and 41 per cent of Canadians have a positive opinion of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, respectively, despite the couple’s ongoing rift with the royal family.
Among Canadians who have watched the Netflix series “Harry & Meghan,” in which they talk candidly about life in the British royal family, roughly 70 per cent have a favourable view of the couple, according to the poll.
At the beginning of this year, Prince Harry also released “Spare,” his memoir about his childhood and life as a royal.
“Support for the monarchy has declined over the decades as Canada has moved further and further away from its British origins,” explained Nelson Wiseman, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto’s department of political science.
Another similar survey released Tuesday found only 13 per cent of respondents said they felt a personal attachment to the monarchy, compared with 81 per cent who didn’t. Even when the queen died in September, only 19 per cent of those polled said they felt an attachment to the throne.
In that same survey, conducted by Leger, a majority of respondents said it’s the right time for Canada to reconsider its ties with the royal family, with 56 per cent in favour and 44 per cent against.
Could Canada move away from the monarchy?
Wiseman, however, said he believes it would be “impossible” for Canada to get rid of the monarchy.
“It would require a constitutional amendment, in which every legislature in the country and Parliament would have to vote to do that,” he said. “That’s a big hill to climb.”
Though the royal family’s popularity has declined, Wiseman also notes that getting rid of the monarchy is not a priority for many Canadians.
“Canadians are often asked, ‘What’s the most important issue?’ ‘What’s on your mind?’ They talk about health care, some talk about the environment, jobs, the economy, taxes, the deficit. But who mentions the monarchy?” he said.
Regarding an alternative to a constitutional monarchy, 44 per cent of Canadians wish to have an elected head of state, the Research Co. poll indicates. Some 15 per cent are undecided, while 22 per cent do not care if Canada abolishes the monarchy or stays with the current system.
The Research Co. results are based on an online study conducted between March 3 and March 5. The data has been weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. Research Co. said the margin of error is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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