48% of Catalans are against independence while 44% support it, according to latest survey
The support for independence is at its lowest ebb of the last two years according to the latest survey from the Catalan Government’s Survey Institute (CEO), published on Friday. 48% of Catalan citizens are against independence from Spain, while 44.1% are in favour of it. The figures confirm the trend observed in the last CEO survey released in December, when the percentage of those opposing independence (45.3%) overtook those in favour (44.5%) for the first time since 2012. During the last months there have been significant quarrels among the pro-independence parties and there was already the general feeling that the movement was losing supports. This also coincides with a greater mobilisation of the 'no' side, which has focused on spreading doubt and uncertainty about the independence project, and the appearance of new parties at Spanish level that are promising to carry out great changes in the democratic and economic systems.
Barcelona (ACN).- The support for independence is at its lowest ebb of the last two years according to the latest survey of the Catalan Government’s Survey Institute (CEO), published on Friday. 48% of Catalan citizens are against independence from Spain, while 44.1% are in favour of it. The figures confirm the trend observed in the last CEO survey released in December, when the percentage of those opposing Catalonia's independence (45.3%) overtook those in favour (44.5%) for the first time since 2012. Back then, the survey was made by phone and this time it was done through face-to-face interviews, which reduced the number of those undecided, according the CEO. However, there are other factors explaining these trends, such as the controversies surrounding pro-independence parties, the mobilisation of the 'no' side and new perspectives at Spanish level that make people think that the overall political and economic system can change. All these factors combined have contributed to the general feeling that was already noticeable in the last few months throughout Catalonia: the pro-independence movement is not having the best of times and has lost political momentum. Today's survey confirms this feeling and in the next few months it remains to be seen whether it gathers political momentum once again.
Pro-independence parties would obtain an absolute majority in next elections
Pro-independence parties would obtain an absolute majority in next September's elections, but by a small margin. These Catalan Parliament elections have been called early as a 'de facto' referendum on independence, since the Spanish authorities have blocked any other legal vote. The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU would win with 31 or 32 seats, although it would lose a lot of support since they currently have 50 MPs. The opposition left-wing pro-independence party ERC would be close with 30 or 31 MPs, increasing its presence from its current 21 seats. Together, the CiU and the ERC would not have an absolute majority, which is set at 68 seats. However if the MPs of the alternative left and radical independence party CUP are added (10 or 11 parliamentarians), they could obtain between 71 and 74 seats. In the current Chamber the CUP has 3 MPs. Today, they, CiU, ERC and CUP have 74 MPs combined.
Besides this, the recently-created Spanish alternative left and populist party Podemos wold enter into the 135-seat Catalan Parliament for the first time, with 16 or 17 MPs. The populist and anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C's), which is getting great results in polls at Spanish level, would also increase its presence in the Catalan Parliament, going from 9 to 16 or 17 MPs and therefore fighting with Podemos for 3rd position.
The conservative and Spanish nationalist People's Party, which currently runs the Spanish Government, would lose some of its support, going from 19 MPs to 13 or 14. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) would see its number of seats plummet from 20 to just 11 or 12. Finally, the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition would go from 13 to 6 or 8 MPs.
Independence movement is not having the best of times
During the last months there have been some significant quarrels among the pro-independence parties about the next steps to take in order to allow Catalonia to hold a binding self-determination vote and to build a new state if this is the most voted option. This has created confusion and has partially discredited some political actors and parties. On top of this, the scandal affecting the family of former Catalan President Jordi Pujol (who ran the government between 1980 and 2003) and other fraud or corruption scandals have been affecting the image of some Catalan parties and political institutions.
This comes in the context of total opposition from the Spanish authorities, which have also activated judicial mechanisms against the pro-independence project and some of its leaders. This also coincides with a greater mobilisation of the 'no' side, which has focused on spreading doubt and uncertainty about the independence project. The main economic powers in Catalonia and most of the media are against independence, and they are actively campaigning to oppose the project. On top of this, the appearance of new parties at Spanish level promising to carry out great changes in the democratic and economic systems has also affected support for the independence movement.
Support for independence is stable, according to the CEO
According to the CEO’s Director, Jordi Argelaguet, support for independence has "stabilised" and is almost stagnant compared to a few months ago. In December it represented 44.5% and now it stands at 44.1%. For Argelaguet, the most significant change is the increase in those opposing independence: people who did not answer or were undecided a few months ago are now against independence.
Besides this, 54.4% of those interviewed stated that they do not feel like a pro-independence supporter, while 44.4% stated they feel like one. Almost half of those who feel they are supporting independence explained that they have embraced this idea in the last few years, many of them pushed by "the Spanish Government's attitude and comments towards Catalonia".
38% believe they would live better after independence, and 26% worse
In addition, there were also other questions related to independence, such as "If Catalonia was an independent country, how would Catalans' living standards be?" 38% of the interviewees believed it would be "better than now", while 26.2% believed "it would be worse than now". 18.9% thought it would be "the same as now" and 16.4% chose the "do not know" option.
The survey also asked about the conviviality spirit in Catalonia in case of independence. 53.1% believe it would be "like now", 18.6% think it would be "worse" and 18.2% think it would be "better". 9.6% still "do not know".
Full independence from Spain is still the preferred option
Finally, 39.1% of Catalans see full independence from Spain as the best option. This figure is higher than in December, when it was 36%. Meanwhile, 26.1% would prefer a Catalan State within a Federal Spain, which would grant Catalan institutions greater powers but not full independence. This option represented 29% of interviewees in December. 24% of those interviewed said that they would rather support the current Autonomous Community system (22% in December). Only 3.4% of the interviewees would like Catalonia to be considered as a mere region within Spain, an option that does not recognise Catalonia's nationhood status and recentralises powers.