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International News / Royal Wedding

Thursday, 21 April, 2011 1:47 PM

Many Americans, Particularly Women and Those Older, Have Opinions About the British Royal Family

Yet just three in ten say they are likely to watch the upcoming wedding

Photo credit: www.insidevancouver.ca

Prince William and Kate Middleton will get married on April 29, 2011.

|

NEW YORK -- A new Harris Poll finds that Americans have a complicated relationship with the British royal family. When asked how closely they have been following the news surrounding Prince William and Kate Middleton's recent engagement and upcoming wedding, fewer than one in five U.S. adults say they have been following it closely (18%), while the majority describe themselves as not following this news closely (82%), with 42% saying they have not been following it at all. Similarly, when asked how likely they are to watch live coverage of the royal wedding when it takes place in April, only three in ten Americans say they are likely to do so (30%) yet many Americans have opinions about the successor to the British throne and Kate Middleton's class status.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,379 adults surveyed online between March 7 and 14, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Differences by Gender and Generation

Although the majority of Americans overall say that they have not been following Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement and upcoming wedding closely (82%) and that they are not likely to watch live coverage of the royal wedding (66%), there are differences in what men and women say. Not surprisingly, women are more likely to describe themselves as following the engagement and wedding news closely (24% say this, compared to just 11% of men who do). Similarly, two in five women say they are likely to watch live coverage of the royal wedding (41%) compared to fewer than one in five men who say the same (18%). There are also interesting generational differences--the oldest group of Americans, Matures, who are 66 years and older, are more likely than younger generations to both be following news of the engagement (24% vs. between 13% and 18%) and likely to watch live coverage of the wedding (44% vs. between 26% and 28%).

Further Opinions

Despite not following the news closely, Americans do have some opinions on details of the British royal family's business. When asked about Kate Middleton's class status, as she will be the first so-called "commoner" to marry a direct heir to the British throne, almost half of Americans say this is a good thing for Britain's royal family (48%), very few people say it's a bad thing (1%) and two in five describe it as neither good nor bad (39%). Interestingly, women are more likely than men to say this is a good thing for the British royal family (53% vs. 43%). Matures (55%) are also more likely than younger groups--Baby Boomers, aged 47-65, (49%), Gen X, aged 35-46 (43%) and Echo Boomers, aged 18-34 (48%)--to say this is a good thing.

Over two in five Americans say that they would like to see Prince Charles, currently next in line for the British throne, to step aside and allow his son, Prince William, to be the next king of England (44%) with a quarter of Americans saying they would very much like to see this (25%). Once again, women display stronger feelings on this than do men, as half of women say they would like to see this happen (52%), compared to fewer men who say the same (35%). Men, on the other hand, are more likely to say that they are not at all sure (52% versus 38% of women). It should come as little surprise that Matures again display the strongest opinions on the succession of the British throne--half say that they would like to see Prince Charles step aside (52%) compared to
between 38% and 45% of all other generational groups who say the same.

So What?

Although many don't seem anxious to admit it, Americans appear to be fairly interested in the proceedings of the British royal family, and, American opinions reflect a preference for movement toward what may be a more accessible and relatable monarchy. While Americans' opinions on this subject are interesting, one wonders how Britons feel. One would assume more of them are following this news closely and have opinions on the future of their monarchy.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 7 to 14, 2011 among 2,379 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical
because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Source: Harris Interactive

 

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