Monday, 15 June 2009

Something rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark?

It seems the referendum on absolute primogeniture in Denmark on 7 June may have opened a can of worms for the monarchy. Some commentators have indicated that the surprisingly large opposition to changing the Act of Succession may be interpreted as a sign of dissatisfaction with the royal family. On Thursday Jyllands-Posten published a poll by Rambøll/Analyse Danmark which indeed showed that considerably fewer than five years ago are satisfied with the royal family’s performance:
Today 81.3 % think that Queen Margrethe performs her role either well or very well. This is down from 96.5 % in 2004, a considerable fall. Five years ago 0.8 % thought she did her job badly or very badly; now 5.1 % think so. 29.8 % are satisfied with Prince Henrik’s performance (down from 41.8 % in 2004), while 30.7 % disapprove (up from 29.7 % five years ago). Crown Prince Frederik’s positive rating is down from 90.7 % to 80.4 %, while disapproval for his performance has risen from 1.6 % in 2004 to 4.9 % today. The percentage who thinks Prince Joachim performs his duties well is down from 84.6 % to 44.6 %, those negative are up from 2.4 % to 16.2 %. Crown Princess Mary and Princess Marie were naturally not included in the 2004 poll, but today the Crown Princess is the royal who scores the highest approval rating (82.2 %, with only 2.7 % thinking she does badly). Princess Marie’s performance is approved of by 36.6 %, while 9.8 % think she performs her duties badly or very badly. This shows that the approval ratings for all of them have fallen since 2004, but, with the exception for Prince Henrik, more people are favourably inclined than negative.
For a monarchy there will of course always be ups and downs in the popularity ratings and one should bear in mind that the 2004 poll was done during a season of royal euphoria – i.e. around the time of Crown Prince Frederik’s and Crown Princess Mary’s wedding and before Prince Joachim and the then Princess Alexandra announced their separation. But the fact that 14.6 % of those who voted in the referendum on the succession either voted against it or cast blank votes sends a message that the royal family can not take popular support for granted.
An opinion poll made for the news agency Ritzau and published in several newspapers yesterday shows that 15.3 % of the Danes want to replace the monarchy with a republic, with 77.8 % wishing to keep the monarchy:

This still makes the Danish monarchy the most popular in Scandinavia – a similar poll in Norway in May showed 71 % for the monarchy and 17 % for the republic, while a Swedish poll in April showed 63 % monarchists and 17 % republicans.

1 comment:

  1. The falling approval rates will certainly raise the alarm bells in the Royal Household. But it has to pointed out, that 77.8% to 15.3% in favour of the Monarchy is extraordinarily high. Percentage there are more Royalists in France than republicans in Denmark. Yet, nobody talks about the end of the French Republic being on the horizon.

    In April 2008 a Deutsche Welle reported stated: "Some 40 percent of Germans don't trust their country's style of democracy. Faith in the German government and the political parties seems to have suffered most among the population: 38 percent believe in the German government, and only 22 percent in the parties represented in parliament."

    Denmark is a lucky country to have a Monarch like Queen Margrethe II and an heir to the throne who is equally able to inspire the Danish people.


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