Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Danish royal approval ratings (mostly) falling

Last night the celebrations of Queen Margrethe II’s 70th birthday kicked off with a state banquet for Danish, Greenlandic and Faeroese officials at Christiansborg Palace. Today Jyllands-Posten (apparently not on the Internet, although printed in the real thing) publishes another of Rambøll/Analyse Danmark’s opinion polls on the monarchy, this time dealing with how the members of the royal family perform their duties. The poll has been taken in March 2010 and the results are compared with polls in early May 2004 and early June 2009.
Today 84.8 % think Queen Margrethe performs her duties either well or very well, which is up from 81.3 % last year, but down from 96.5 % in 2004. 4.4 % think the Queen does her job badly or very badly, as compared to 0.8 % in 2004 and 5.1 % last year.
The Prince Consort’s performance is approved of by 24.8 % (down from 41.8 % in 2004 and 29.8 % in 2009). 42.4 % think he performs his duties badly or very badly, which can be compared to 29.7 % in 2004 and 30.7 % a year ago.
Crown Prince Frederik does his job well or very well according to 77.8 % of those asked (down from 90.7 % in the poll taken just before his wedding in 2004 and from 80.4 % last year). Now 6.4 % think he does it badly or very badly, compared to 1.6 % in 2004 and 4.9 % in 2009.
Prince Joachim’s approval rating was 84.6 % in 2004 (four months before his separation from the then Princess Alexandra was announced), but fell to 44.6 % five years later and is now down to 35.6 %, with 26.6 % disapproving (against 2.4 % disapproving in 2004 and 16.2 % last year).
Crown Princess Mary and Princess Marie were for obvious reasons not included in the opinion poll conducted in 2004 and can thus only be compared to last year. In 2009 82.2 % thought the Crown Princess performed her duties well or very well and the result is virtually unchanged at 82.1 %, while 4.1 % now disapprove against 2.7 % a year ago.
30.2 % now approve of Princess Marie’s performance (down from 36.6 % in 2009), while 23.5 % are negative (up from 9.8 % last year). From these numbers one can tell that many are obviously uncertain what they think of the way Prince Joachim and Princess Marie perform their tasks.
When the results of this poll are seen together with the opinion poll published on Sunday (about whether Queen Margrethe should abdicate or stay on the throne) and on Monday (about constitutional issues) a rather interesting picture appears.
An overwhelming majority of the Danes want to retain the monarchy and the royal family, but while the number of monarchists has increased, so has the number of republicans (which probably means that it is those who were previously in doubt who have now made up their minds).
The approval ratings for all members of the royal family, with the exception of Crown Princess Mary, have fallen during the last five years, but Prince Henrik is the only whose performance is disapproved of by more people than approve.
While the Queen has repeatedly expressed her intention of remaining on the throne until her death, a majority of those who have made up their mind think she should abdicate – however, those who think so are quite evenly divided over whether she should do so this week or within the next ten years.
A clear majority thinks that the Speaker of Parliament rather than the Queen should appoint the Prime Minister, and more people think the royal assent should be abolished than those who think this should remain a constitutional requirement.
It seems the overall impression is that most Danes want to keep the monarchy, but that a significant number wants to change its constitutional role; that the idea of a monarch reigning until death does not have very strong support; and that people are more critical towards the royals now than they were six years ago.
As a previous poll of which I posted the results some days ago caused some confusion to at least one reader, I should perhaps state explicitly that this opinion poll is part of a series conducted by a leading polling institute on behalf of a serious newspaper. Together these three scientific opinion polls are the most thorough examination of the Danish people’s attitudes to the monarchy and the royal family in years and it is the results from these polls I have posted here, not my personal view.

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