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Polling on the republic
This is a reference page of the public opinion polls on the republic issue, recording support for a republic and related polls on republicanism.
There are three key factors that determine the outcome of polls:
- the question being asked,
- the sample and its size,
- the actual public opinion being sought.
As you can see from the polls below, the results depend very much on the three factors above. There are differences between polls taken on the same date. Actual support for a republic varies depending on the polling organisation.
- Research NZ
- The Sunday Star-Times
- National Business Review
- Bay of Plenty Times
- The Press
- The Dominion Post
- New Zealand Herald
- New Zealand Study of Values
- New Zealand Election Study
Trend graph (poll of polls)
The graph below was produced using all the surveys (that is, excluding the internet polls and phone-in surveys) on this page. The trend line is a five-point moving average.
Note: MOE = Margin Of Error
The trend graph is updated regularly using a elements of a
poll aggregation method originally developed by Nate Silver of
fivethirtyeight.com. This poll of polls was adapted for the New Zealand
context by Rob Salmond of the University of Michigan. The details of our
poll of polling method are:
- We collect information from the following polling and survey sources: NZ Electoral Study, Curia, Research NZ, One News/Colmar Brunton, TV3/TNS, Roy Morgan, and NZ Herald/Digipoll.
- We adjust total sample sizes to take account of the "don’t know" respondents. So a poll of 1,000 people with 8% don’t know” is treated as a poll of 920 people. This is because all the percentages the polling firms report are only out of those 920 people.
- Each poll is weighted according to its sample size, so an 800 person poll is twice as influential as a 400 person poll.
- This procedure gives us one poll of polls each week from which we can draw estimates of levels of popular support, complete with a time-corrected pseudo sample size. (Note that we do not use this sample size to generate standard errors and test hypotheses because the “sample” we are using doesn’t meet the statistical standards required to generate standard errors.)
Research NZ is a professional polling company which a specific focus on social issues.
A phone poll of 500 New Zealanders was conducted between 26 November - 2 December 2008. The question asked was:
"Australians are considering becoming a republic, which means the Queen of England will no longer be their Head of State. Do you believe New Zealand should also consider this?"
Yes: 42% No: 48% Don't know: 9% MOE: +/- 4.3% (500 surveyed)
A phone poll of 756 New Zealanders was conducted between 16 - 25 February 2010, following a tour by HRH Prince William. The question asked was:
"New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy and our current Head of State is the Queen of England. It has been suggested that New Zealand should become a republic with a New Zealander as the Head of State. Do you agree or disagree that New Zealand should become a republic?"
Yes: 32% No: 53% Don't know: 15% MOE: +/- 4.3% (756 surveyed)
The Republican Movement commissions independent polls by Curia Market Research Limited on the republic issue.
A phone poll of voting-age New Zealanders asks the question:
"When the Queen dies, which option would you prefer: Prince Charles becoming King of New Zealand or New Zealand becoming a republic?"
- 31 March - 14 April 2008 Republic: 41% Prince Charles: 43% Don't know: 15% MOE: +/- 3.3% (964 surveyed)
- 25 March - 7 April 2009 Republic: 43% Prince Charles: 45% Don't know: 13% MOE: +/- 3.1% (1,018 surveyed)
- 29 March - 13 April 2010 Republic: 37% Prince Charles: 51% Don't know: 12% MOE: +/- 3.2% (1,053 surveyed)
- 1 April - 28 April 2011 Republic: 35% Prince Charles: 54% Don't know: 11% MOE: +/- 3.2% (1,016 surveyed)
- 29 March - 13 April 2012 Republic: 36% Prince Charles: 51% Don't know: 11% MOE: +/- 3.2% (1,053 surveyed)
The Sunday Star-Times has conducted various polls on the issue -
Yes 47% No 47% Undecided: 6% January 30, 2006 MOE: +/- 3.7% (756 surveyed)
Yes 41% No 50% Undecided: 9% May 30, 2004 MOE: +/- 4% (500 surveyed)
The NBR began polling the republic issue since 1993, from around the time Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating raised the issue. The NBR has been consistent, which is good, and their questions haven't changed over the last 12 or so years. They survey 750 people at random, and ask two questions -
Question: Do you support or oppose New Zealand becoming a republic?
Support 35% Oppose 46% Unsure: 19% August 07, 2004
Support 31% Oppose 53% Unsure: 16% February 2003
Support 32% Oppose 52% Unsure: 16% August 2000
Support 25% Oppose 59% Unsure: 16% November 1999 [Australian republic referendum]
Support 31% Oppose 53% Unsure: 16% August 1999
Support 29% Oppose 53% Unsure: 18% February 1999
Support 29% Oppose 50% Unsure: 22% September 1997
Support 28% Oppose 56% Unsure: 17% November 1995
Support 27% Oppose 56% Unsure: 20% February 1995
Support 27% Oppose 53% Unsure: 21% October 1994
Support 23% Oppose 51% Unsure: 21% April 1994
Support 23% Oppose 58% Unsure: 19% August 1993
Support 27% Oppose 56% Unsure: 17% April 1993
Question: Regardless of your views on whether New Zealand should become a republic, do you think New Zealand will become a republic in the future?
Yes 57% No 31% Unsure: 13% August 2004
Yes 46% No 40% Unsure: 12% February 2003
Yes 54% No 33% Unsure: 13% August 2000
Yes 45% No 44% Unsure: 12% November 1999
Yes 49% No 37% Unsure: 14% August 1999
Yes 51% No 35% Unsure: 14% February 1999
Yes 59% No 29% Unsure: 11% September 1997
Yes 63% No 24% Unsure: 13% November 1995
Yes 60% No 24% Unsure: 16% February 1995
Yes 54% No 28% Unsure: 18% October 1994
Yes 61% No 28% Unsure: 11% April 1994
Yes 43% No 39% Unsure: 18% August 1993
Yes 36% No 46% Unsure: 18% April 1993
TVNZ's polls on the republic issue have been very inconsistent, with the question changing to suit the story. For example the "allegiance to the Queen" question was first asked as long ago as 1992, and was repeated in 2002. Then in 2004 the question was changed, and it was changed again slightly in 2008.
Question: "Do you believe New Zealand should become a republic, or stay as it is, with the Queen as head of state?"
Queen as head of state: 67% Become a republic: 25% Don't know: 8% 14 - 19 June 2008 (1,003 surveyed) MOE: +/- 3.1%
Queen as head of state: 66% Become a republic: 28% Don't know: 6% 5 - 19 March 2008 (749 surveyed) MOE: +/- 4.2%
Question: Currently there is some debate about whether or not New Zealand should become a republic, or remain as it is with the Queen as head of state. Which of the following do you believe New Zealand should do?
Stay as it is: 67% Become a republic: 26% Don't know: 7% 8 - 11 November 2004 (1,002 surveyed)
NB: This poll was taken at the same time as the Study of Values was conducted: Note the large difference in support (10%) for a republic.
Question: Should New Zealand give up allegiance to the Queen and become a republic?
Yes 33% No 58% Don't know 9% 21 February 2002 (1,000 surveyed)
Yes 21% No 72% Don't know 9% 7 March 1992 (1,000 surveyed)
Question: Is the monarchy relevant to your life?
58% no relevance 20% somewhat relevant 7% extremely relevant 15% don't know - 21 February 2002 (1,000 surveyed).
Note: This poll was taken during the 2002 Royal Tour.
One News Insight:
Question: Should Prince Charles become King?
Yes: 47% (4,253 votes) No 53% (4,701 votes) 3 March 2005
Note: This was a phone in poll, so the results are not accurate.
TNS conducted a survey of 1,000 voters for TV3, which was published on 5 February 2007, the day before Waitangi Day. It found that 39% of New Zealanders supported a republic, with 53% supporting the status quo, the with the remaining 8% "don't knows".
The Bay of Plenty times conducted a small poll in the Bay of Plenty region on Queen's Birthday weekend 2006:
Question: Should the Queen be New Zealand's head of state?
No 33% Yes 66% 5 June 2006 (300 surveyed)
To follow up on an earlier Sunday-Star Times poll, The Press conducted a poll of its own in July 2005. The result was a very low amount of support for the republic, although the poll was undertaken by the same polling firm as TVNZ.
Question: Do you support New Zealand becoming a republic?
Support 27% Oppose 67% 18 July 2005 (1,033 surveyed)
The Dominion Post conducted an online poll to coincide with the Dominion centenary. The poll is not scientific, but the results are interesting nonetheless. There were a total of 14,199 "votes", although the poll allowed for more than one vote per person.
Question: Should New Zealand become a republic?
Yes 32.3% (4,590) No 61.2% (8,695) Yes but not now 6.4% (914) [NB: total "Yes" = 39%] 26 September 2007 (14,199 "votes")
The New Zealand Herald are pretty inconsistent with polls on the republic, and ask a number of different questions. Their last question relating to the republic question was in 2004.
In their 2000 poll, they give a break down of individual respondents - which shows, much to the surprise of monarchists, that Maori and the rich don't have much time for the Queen.
Do you think New Zealand should become a republic when the Queen dies?
No (response recorded as "want to keep the Queen" which makes no sense) 55.2% Yes 34.5% Don't Know/refused 10.3% 6 January 2010 (750 surveyed, MOE +/- 3.6%)
Question: Should the Queen continue as our Head of state, or should we elect our own Head of state?
Queen 53.9% New Zealand Head of state 36.4% Don't Know 6.7% 14 November 2004 (756 surveyed)
Question: Should the Queen be our Head of state?
Yes 47% No 40% 26 December 2000 (756 surveyed)
By Ethnicity: Pakeha: Yes 50% No 38%
Maori: Yes 29% No 63%
By Age group:
18 - 39: Yes: 38% No: 49%
40+: Yes: 54% No: 34%
By Annual Household income:
<$44,000: Yes: 52% No: 45%
>$44,000: Yes: 38% No: 50%
Their November 1999 poll, which did not include sample size or the question asked, found:
70.1% for the monarchy 21.4% for a republic 8.5% Don't know
Massey University publishes the Study of Values as part of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). The survey is conducted by mail by the Department of Marketing. Usually the Study of Values covers all aspects of New Zealand political life.
Question: Should New Zealand continue to have the Queen of England as its head of state?
Agree: 50% Disagree: 35% (1,200 surveyed) September and November 2004
NB: contrast this poll with that of One News in November 2004: 27% support for a republic.
Their method changed from the previous survey in 1989 and 1998:
October and September 1998
Strongly in favour: 18%
More or less in favour: 14.2%
(In favour total: 32.2%)
Neither in favour or against: 24.4%
More or less against: 13.4%
Strongly against: 25.2%
(Against total: 38.6%)
Don't know: 4.7%
Strongly in favour: 5.3%
More or less in favour: 10.9%
(In favour total: 16.2%)
Neither in favour or against: 21.2%
More or less against: 34.9%
Strongly against: 26.4%
(Against total: 61.3%)
Don't know: 1.3% (998 surveyed)
The New Zealand Election Study is one of the largest and longest running surveys on political issues. The survey is targeted and demographically weighted, and occurs after each general election. The question asked is "Do you think New Zealand should become a republic with a New Zealand head of state, or should the Queen be retained as head of state?".
The 1996 result:
Strongly favour NZ becoming a republic: 12.4%
Favour NZ becoming a republic: 23%
Total in favour of a republic: 35.4%
Favour retaining Queen as head of state: 36.1%
Strongly favour retaining Queen as head of state: 15.0%
Total in favour of retaining monarchy: 52.1%
Don't know: 13.7%
Women: Support: 31% Oppose: 56%
Men: Support: 60% Oppose: 40%
18-24: Support: 41% Oppose: 36%
65+: Support: 23 % Oppose 72%
Pakeha: Support 45% Oppose 55%
Maori: Support 65% Oppose 35%
British-born respondents: Support 25% Oppose 75%
Australians: Support: 47% Oppose: 53%
West Europeans: Support: 49% Oppose: 51%
Pacific Islanders: Support: 33% Oppose 66%
Chinese: Support 80% Oppose 17%.
Favour NZ becoming a republic: 28.1% Favour retaining Queen as head of state: 62.2% Don't know: 9.7% 1999 (1,471 surveyed)
Favour NZ becoming a republic: 31.3% Favour retaining Queen as head of state: 51.2% Don't know: 17.5% 2002 (4,859 surveyed)
Favour NZ becoming a republic: 33.9% Favour retaining Queen as head of state: 48.7% Don't know: 17.1% 2005 (2,792 surveyed)
Favour NZ becoming a republic: 32.8% Favour retaining Queen as head of state: 49.6% Don't know: 17.1% 2008 (2,700 surveyed)
Compare this with the Research NZ survey above - there's a 10% difference between the results for a republic.
See the NZES website.
UMR has asked a variety of questions on two occasions - 2002, following the Queen's tour of New Zealand, and 2011, following Prince William's Royal Wedding. They also refer to an 2005 survey, but there doesn't appear to be any actual reference for this.
Do you support or oppose New Zealand becoming a republic?
- 28 April - 3 May 2011 Support: 24%, Oppose: 58% Don't know / undecided: 18% MOE +/- 3.6% (750 surveyed)
Regardless of your views on whether New Zealand should become a republic, do you think New Zealand will become a republic within the next twenty years?
- 28 April - 3 May 2011: Do expect: 33%, Don't expect: 52% MOE +/- 3.6% (750 surveyed)
- 2005: Do expect: 58%, Don't expect: 29%