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63% to back independence if Catalonia does not have greater self-government within Spain

The Catalan Centre for Polling (CEO), linked to the Catalan Government, published “an experimental poll” based on 1,830 interviews on 10 different future scenarios, such as an independent Catalonia within the European Union, an independent Catalonia being expelled from the EU and independence bringing a positive economic impact. In the event that the Spanish Government insists in not changing anything regarding the current relationship between Catalonia and Spain, 62.7% of Catalans would vote “yes” in an independence referendum while 22.5% would oppose it and 7.8% would abstain. It is the highest-ever support to independence registered in an opinion poll. On the other hand, if the EU automatically expelled Catalonia if its citizens were to vote for independence, 45.4% would still vote “yes”, 37.6% would vote “no” and 12.7% would abstain. For all scenarios independence is the clear winner.

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10 February 2014 07:37 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Centre for Polling (CEO), linked to the Catalan Government, published on Monday “an experimental poll” based on 1,830 interviews on 10 different future scenarios. Interviewees were asked whether they would vote for independence from Spain or not depending on different scenarios, such as staying within the European Union through a transitory agreement, being automatically expelled from the EU and having a greater amount of economic resources, among other possibilities. For all scenarios, independence is the clear winner but the results do vary from one case to the other, ranging from a 62.7% to a 45.4% support. Furthermore, the opposition to independence also changes significantly ranging from 22.5% to 37.6%. However, in any case, independence always comes on top  and the highest opposition to independence is never higher than the weakest support for independence. In addition, the poll included a question that does not foresee any specific scenario, in a traditional manner. Answering to the simple question “if the [independence] referendum is finally organised, what would you vote?” 53.5% would vote “yes”, 28.7% would say “no”, 9.4% would abstain and 8.4% would cast a blank ballot paper.


The “experimental” poll – as the CEO referred to it – published this Monday shows interesting and varying results regarding each of the different scenarios. The lowest support for independence would happen in the scenario of an automatic expulsion of Catalonia from the EU. However, a majority of Catalans would still vote for independence with a 45.4% support and a 37.6% opposition. In this event, 12.7% would abstain and 4.4% would cast a None of the Above (NOTA) ballot. Members of the European Commission, after pressures from the Spanish Government, have stated that “as a general principle”, “a region that secedes from a Member State would become a third state” and “would have to re-apply for membership”. However, at the same time, the European Commission has stated that it “will only talk about the legal consequences” for Catalonia “on the basis of a precise scenario and after “the request of a Member State government”, which has never been filed.

If a transition agreement kept Catalonia within the EU, 55.6% would vote “yes”

On the other hand, if the European Union recognised that the Treaties would provisionally be in place while a legal solution was negotiated in order to have Catalonia as a full-right EU Member State, 55.6% would vote “yes” and 25.4% would oppose independence, 12.7% would abstain and 6.3% would cast a NOTA vote. Many experts have stressed this as the way out, since they insist that the European Union is not only a union of States and a mere international organisation but also a union of citizens built on the democratic principle. Furthermore, the free circulation of goods, capital and people, and the Euro, are not necessarily linked to the EU membership.

62.7% would vote for independence if the Spanish Government continues with its current attitude

However, the highest support for independence comes in the event that the Spanish Government insists in not changing anything regarding the current relationship between Catalonia and Spain and keeping the current status quo as an Autonomous Community. If Catalonia does not have greater self-government powers, 62.7% of Catalans would vote “yes” in an independence referendum while 22.5% would oppose it, 7.8% would abstain and 6.9% would go for a NOTA vote. It is the highest-ever support to independence registered in an opinion poll. Since the massive demonstration of September 2012, the Spanish Government has refused to discuss the organisation of a self-determination vote in Catalonia and has also rejected making any concessions or reforming the current territorial organisation.

55.6% would vote for independence if Catalonia had greater self-government powers within Spain

In spite of this, if the Spanish Government made an offer to the Catalan people, with Catalonia having a new political status within Spain, greater self-government powers and the capacity to collect its own taxes, 55.6% of Catalans would still support independence. In the event of this ‘third way’, 27.8% would oppose independence, 8.8% would abstain and 7.8% would cast a NOTA vote. In September 2012, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, proposed “an Economic Agreement” to the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to improve Catalonia’s fiscal powers within Spain. Rajoy rejected it.

If Catalan language’s future was guaranteed, support for independence would be 47.1%

The second lowest support for independence comes in a scenario where Catalan language is not under any threat and its future is guaranteed according to experts. In this event, 47.1% would support independence and 30.4% would oppose it. 13.7% would abstain and 8.8% would cast a blank ballot paper.

On the other hand, if the future of Catalan language was put at risk by staying within Spain, under the authority of the Spanish Government, 56.9% of Catalans would vote for independence, 22.5% would oppose it, 11.8% would abstain and 8.8% would cast a NOTA ballot. The actions carried out by the Spanish Government in the last years, such as the Education Reform “to Hispanicise” Catalan pupils would confirm this scenario as the most likely.

If Spanish language continued to be official in an independent Catalonia, 57.8% would vote “yes”

If in an independent Catalonia, Spanish was still considered as an official language, Spanish-speakers had all their rights recognised and Catalan institutions promoted Spanish as well as the Catalan language, 57.8% of the people would vote for independence. In this scenario, 24.5% would oppose it, 9.8% would abstain and 7.8% would cast a NOTA vote. In fact, all the pro-independence parties in Catalonia and those supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination have already repeated on many occasions that Spanish language would continue to be official in Catalonia as it is the mother tongue of many Catalans and a priceless heritage. None of them has stated the contrary.

In addition, if the Spanish language was under threat in an independent Catalonia and stopped being official, 51.0% of Catalans would vote for independence, 33.3% would oppose it, 11.8% would abstain and 3.9% would cast a blank ballot paper. However, this scenario has never been proposed by any party supporting independence and has only being envisioned by some of the parties opposing it such as the People’s Party, which runs the Spanish Government.

60.2% would support independence if it improved the economy

Finally, if experts guaranteed that independence had a positive economic impact and brought more business opportunities along with greater resources per inhabitant, 60.2% would vote “yes”, 25.2% would oppose it, 9.2% would abstain and 5.3% would cast a NOTA vote.

However, if independence led to the opposite and Catalan products suffered from a heavy boycott in Spain, 55.0% would vote “yes”, 31.7% would oppose it, 9.9% would abstain and 3.5% would cast a blank ballot paper. The Spanish Government has been insisting that an independent Catalonia would be much poorer.

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  • The Catalan independence flag and a European Union flag at the Catalan Way (by A. Moldes)

  • The Catalan independence flag and a European Union flag at the Catalan Way (by A. Moldes)