Majority of Spaniards find referendum on monarchy necessary

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish monarchy

MADRID – In Spain, confidence in the monarchy institution continues to decline. This is apparent from a survey conducted this year by research agency 40DB, commissioned by the Spanish platform Medios Independientes (PMI). 

It is not the first time that 40DB polled the opinion of the Spanish population about the current form of government. The agency already did this in October 2020, at a time when the monarchy was experiencing turbulent times. As this situation still persists, it was decided to organise a second poll, one year after the publication of the first survey. 

The poll was conducted between September 22 and October 4, 2021, on the basis of 1000 surveys of people aged 16 and over residing in Spain. The research was funded through crowdfunding at the initiative of PMI. 

Trust in monarchy is declining 

The outcome of the survey shows a strong resemblance to last year’s. Support for the monarchy among the Spanish population is shrinking. And the unanimity on which a monarchy is theoretically based is in stark contrast to the enormous divisions that now prevail among citizens in practice. 

King or president as head of state? 

If a referendum on the form of government were to be held, 39.4% of those polled say they would opt for a republic, compared to 31% who say they will continue to support the monarchy. It should be noted, however, that the remaining 30% of floating voters could still influence this outcome. 

Casa Las Dunas Spain

Is a referendum necessary? 

In addition, the survey asks about the need for a referendum on the form of government. In 2020, 47.8% were in favour of such a referendum. This percentage fell to 43.8% in 2021 but retains the majority. Because the percentage of respondents who do not consider a referendum necessary remains the same at 36.1% like last year. The number of floating voters has increased by 4% to 20.1% compared to last year. 

Monarchy not the most popular 

The report also provides information about the image that the Spanish population has of the monarchy and the level of trust they have in the institution. On a rating scale of 1 out of 10, the Crown does not get further than a 4.1. She must tolerate the army (6), the judiciary (4.8), and the media (4.5). However, the Crown is considered more reliable than institutions such as parliament, the trade unions, or the Catholic Church. 

Split by age category, the monarchy in the age group 18 to 44 years does not even get a 4. The age group 45 to 64 years rates the current form of government with a 4.1. And, lastly, the over-65s give the monarchy a 4.8. 

Monarch provides order and political stability? 

The participants in the survey are also asked what they think of the tasks of the Crown and its current position. This is done on the basis of the statement “the monarchy ensures order and political stability”. Compared to last year, however, this statement has lost quite a bit of support. In 2021, the percentage of people who believe that the monarchy provides order and political stability fell from 48% to 42.6%. The percentage of people who disagree with this, on the other hand, increased by 4.5% to 40.8%. The number of floating voters grew from 15.6% in 2020 to 16.6% in 2021. 

‘Old-fashioned’ 

Finally, the research shows that an increasing number of people find the monarchy “old and old-fashioned”. No less than 53% share this opinion, compared to 31.6% who disagree. In 2020, 47.9% of those surveyed supported this statement and 36.6% disagreed. 

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