There has been a sharp decline in the number of people believing Britain would be worse off without the royals, down to just half.

New polls carried out by ICM also show only 51% of the public are interested in the jubilee with only 14% 'very interested'. This is marked contrast to the claims made by the palace and the BBC that the monarchy is experiencing a resurgence of support.

One poll asked if Britain would be worse off without the monarchy, to which 51% said yes, down sharply from 63% this time last year. In response to another question only 41% said they believed the monarchy was a unifying force, with 32% saying it made no difference.

The result shows the public are not as besotted with the institution as many claim.

Significantly, over this period of heightened monarchy PR and media exposure, the number of people saying 'don't know' on the better/worse off question has jumped from 11% in 2011 to 28% in 2012.

Republic's chief executive Graham Smith said today:

"These polls put the lie to the claim that the monarchy is enjoying a resurgence of popularity. No poll over the past eighteen months has shown any increase in support for the monarchy."

"These figures are in line with our own predictions: that most people who have previously supported the monarchy will become 'don't knows' or 'don't cares' before siding with those who want abolition."

"Polls have consistently shown 20-25% of the public think we'd be better off without the monarchy. What we're seeing is that the ground in the middle is growing, with ardent monarchists an ever shrinking group."

Republic noted:

Around 20-25% of the population believe we'd be better off without a royal family. Monarchists often assume this means that the remaining 75-80% are avowed monarchists. But in fact only half the population believe we'd actually be worse off without the royals, and that number has decreased significantly in the last 12 months - from 63% in 2011 to 51% in 2012. The biggest growing group is those that don't know - or don't care (28% in 2012, up from 11% in 2011)

Among younger age groups the picture is even bleaker for the monarchy - 28% of 18-24 year-olds believe we'd be better off without the royals, while only 36% believe we'd be worse off. The largest group is "Don't knows" at 37%.

This demonstrates that people are increasingly turning away from the monarchy, but without espousing outright republicanism. Republic's biggest challenge is not winning over monarchists - of which there are far fewer than the media often suggests - but persuading those in the middle to support abolition.