Catalan poll: support for independence sinks
Only 41% of respondents want Catalonia to be an independent state, while those wanting to remain in Spain rise to 54%
Support for independence in Catalonia has fallen to 40.8%, according to a survey by the Center for Opinion Studies (CEO), almost an eight-point drop since the previous survey was carried out last October. In contrast, respondents who want to remain in Spain have risen to 53.9%.
For the first time since Catalonia’s push for independence started in 2012, the number of people in favor of staying as a Spanish autonomous community—the current political status—are a majority. For the past seven years, a new Catalan state has been the main preference of those surveyed, followed by a continuation of the status quo, then a state in a federal Spain, and a reduction of the current autonomy.
Only 19% of the people interviewed want to go ahead with unilateral independence, while 32.9% would opt for trying to reach an agreement on independence with the Spanish government. Some 20.8% of respondents would abandon Catalonia’s push to separate from Spain altogether, and try instead to reform the Spanish Constitution and get a better system of financing.
The survey sends mixed messages to pro-independence parties, which are currently struggling to form a new government after holding on to a parliamentary majority in a harshly fought election campaign. Although support for independence has sunk, the pro-independence parties remain the only political bloc with enough votes to appoint a new president, and they could improve on the results they got in December if a new election was called today.
Pro-independence parties prevail
While pro-independence parties got 70 seats in the last election, the survey estimates that they could gain between 69 and 74 seats in a new vote. In contrast, the prospects for unionist parties have got worse, as they would only secure between 51 and 55 MPs of the 57 seats they got in December. Catalunya en Comú, in favor of a referendum but against independence, would retake its 8 MPs.
Meanwhile, unionist Ciutadans and pro-independence Esquerra Republicana would be tied with 33-35 seats as the main parties on both sides, while president Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya party—which surpassed ERC in the last election—would come third with 29-31 seats.