Majority of Vincentians would vote to retain King Charles as head of state – poll
King Charles III
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May 3, 2023

Majority of Vincentians would vote to retain King Charles as head of state – poll

A significant majority of Vincentians feels the Royal Family cares a lot about St Vincent and the Grenadines and would vote to retain the King as head of state if a referendum were held tomorrow.

Just ahead of the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday, May 6 at Westminster Abbey, a poll has revealed that 63 per cent of Vincentians would vote to keep the monarchy, the second highest percentage among Commonwealth realms.

Asked whether ‘the King and the Royal Family care a lot about my country’, 62 per cent of Vincentians said yes. They also were of the view that the Royal Family did a better job of connecting with ordinary people than their own elected politicians.

The poll, conducted by Lord Michael Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom reveals that of the 14 overseas countries where King Charles is still head of state, six would vote to get rid of the monarchy, while eight want to keep it.

The polling of 11,251 people across the 14 countries was conducted in February and March this year.

Of the Vincentians polled, 48 per cent described themselves as ‘Committed Royalists’, 13% as ‘Mainstream Monarchists’, 4% as ‘Neutral Pragmatists’, 7% as Modern Republicans and 28% as ‘Angry Abolitionists’.

Of those voting in the overseas realms to hang on to the monarchy, the 11,000 residents of the south Pacific nation of Tuvalu are the most enthusiastic, 71 per cent voting in favour. St Vincent and the Grenadines was second with 63%. The other nations giving the King a nod or hanging in the balance are Grenada (56%), Papua New Guinea (51%), St Kitts and Nevis (52%) and St Lucia (56%). In Belize and New Zealand, neither side got more than half of the vote, but more were in favour than against. In Belize, 48% were in favour of keeping the monarchy, while 43% said no; in New Zealand, 44% said yes, while 34% said no.

Six of the King’s realms — Antigua and Barbuda (47% against, 45% for), Australia (42% against, 35% for), The Bahamas (51% against, 27% for), Canada (47% against, 23% for), Jamaica (49% against, 40% for) and the Solomon Islands (59% against, 34% for) would vote to ditch the monarchy.

The result of the overseas poll stands in stark contrast to the poll of attitudes at home which found that over half the United Kingdom would vote for a constitutional monarchy, with less than a quarter against.

More than two thirds of the 11,450 people surveyed in the UK agreed that the Royal Family ‘might seem a strange system in this day and age, but it works’.  Roughly the same margin also backed the current system as ‘more stable’ and ‘an asset for the UK’.

But in a possible signpost to the future of Charles’ reign, the in-depth analysis found that all the realms overwhelmingly want to remain part of the Commonwealth. Most also said the monarchy gives them ‘more stability’.

  • Reasons for ditching the monarchy are varied, with Caribbean countries citing colonialism while others see the monarchy as distant and no longer relevant;
  • Most of those who want a republic believe this would ‘bring real, practical benefits’ to them;
  • The Sussexes (Harry and Meghan) are believed over the rest of the Royal Family by ten out of the 14 countries, with most feeling that Meghan’s treatment exposed ‘racist views’;
  • Canada is among four countries arguing the monarchy is a ‘racist and colonialist institution and we should have nothing to do with it’;
  • In nearly every country, the majority of people said ‘in an ideal world we wouldn’t have the monarchy, but there are more important things for us to deal with’.

There is a growing republican movement across the Caribbean – particularly in Jamaica – but even most New Zealanders agreed that the monarchy no longer makes sense for them. Many countries seem to be upset that they get no tangible benefits.

A Jamaican respondent told Lord Ashcroft’s pollsters: ‘To top it all off, even to travel to England we need a visa. We don’t get any benefits, we don’t get to travel to the UK visa-free, so why are we even part of it?’

In the Bahamas one person noted Britain’s absence while the US and Canada helped with relief after Hurricane Dorian.

And one New Zealander said that, while the royals ‘probably work hard’ in the UK, they ‘honestly don’t know what they do’ in their own country.

However, most countries agreed that ‘the King can unite everyone in my country, no matter who they voted for’, with the exceptions of Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.

Most agreed that the Royal Family ‘care a lot’ about their country and that it ‘might seem a strange system in this day and age, but it works’.

They were by no means totally won over by the argument for republics, with some citing worries about corruption and dictatorship under a presidency.

Others said the monarchy gave them, as young countries, a shared history. It would seem that there is much goodwill to tap into, and that for the most part the Commonwealth just feels left behind and distant.