Toronto, ON – As Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday, a slim majority (54%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (21% strongly/32% somewhat) that ‘given the Queen is turning 90 years old, she should abdicate and let the next in line assume the Throne’, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. Conversely, nearly half (46%) ‘disagree’ (18% strongly/29% somewhat) with this position, believing that the Queen should continue to reign, despite her age.
There has been a recent trend towards abdication among elderly rulers: for example, in 2013 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated and handed the throne to her son in 2013; Albert II of Belgium also abdicated in favour of his son in 2013. That year also saw Pope Benedict XVI resign, which led to the subsequent election of Pope Francis. Thinking of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, men (57%) are more likely than women (51%) to believe she should abdicate, while those aged 55+ (50%) are less supportive of the idea of her abdication than those aged 35-54 (55%) or 18-34 (56%).
Regionally, residents of Quebec (69%) are by far the most likely to believe she should step down, followed by those in Atlantic Canada (56%), British Columbia (54%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (50%), Alberta (46%) and Ontario (46%).
Queen Receives High Marks from Canadians; Majority Believes Canada’s Ties to the Monarchy Should Continue
Most (84%) Canadians ‘agree’ (39% strongly/45% somewhat) that Queen Elizabeth ‘has done a good job in her role as monarch’ – including 92% of those aged 55+. In contrast, just 16% ‘disagree’ (6% strongly/10% somewhat) that she’s fulfilled her role well. Approval of the Queen’s performance is up 3 points from 5 years ago.
The strong endorsement of her job performance has likely convinced Canadians that this country’s ties to the monarchy should be preserved – at least for the time being – and that the British Monarch should continue to act as sovereign of Canada: a majority (55%) ‘disagrees’ (26% strongly/28% somewhat) that ‘when Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends, Canada should end its formal ties to the British monarchy’, up 3 points in 5 years, while a minority (45%) ‘agrees’ (22% strongly/23% somewhat) that Canada should sever ties, down 3 points.
Moreover, six in ten (61%) Canadians ‘agree’ (22% strongly/39% somewhat) that ‘the constitutional monarchy helps to define Canadian identity and should continue to be our form of government’, while four in ten (39%) ‘disagree’ (16% strongly/23% somewhat), presumably favouring a republic-style government. This sentiment is unchanged since 2012.
Wills and Kate to Keep Monarchy Relevant to Canadians…
While Prince Charles – the Queen’s eldest son and heir apparent to the Throne – has typically been less popular than his mother, his son Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, continue to be popular both at home and abroad.
Given their popularity, two in three (67%) Canadians ‘agree’ (24% strongly/43% somewhat) that ‘Prince William and Catherine will help keep the Monarchy relevant to Canadians’, while one in three (33%) ‘disagree’ (13% strongly/20% somewhat). The proportion who agrees with this statement was as high as 81% in 2011 following the Royal Wedding, but has come back down to 67%.
Canadians are mixed on whether the royals ‘are simply celebrities and nothing more, and that they shouldn’t have any formal role in Canadians society’. On this point, a little more than half (53%) ‘agree’ (24% strongly/29% somewhat), unchanged, while nearly half (47%) ‘disagree’ (19% strongly/27% somewhat).
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 15 to 18, 2016, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,006 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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