Socialists on course to win Catalan election, says CIS poll

Spanish government-funded survey predicts pro-independence forces will win 42.8% of vote

The Socialist party candidate in the upcoming Catalan election, Salvador Illa (by PSC)
The Socialist party candidate in the upcoming Catalan election, Salvador Illa (by PSC) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 4, 2021 12:42 PM

According to the latest CIS poll, Salvador Illa's Socialists are set to win the Catalan election on February 14 with 23.7% of the vote, loosening the pro-independence forces' grasp on power.

The results of the Spanish government-funded survey made public two weeks after the previous CIS poll, place left-wing pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana as the second most voted party, with 19.9% of the vote, followed by former president Carles Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya (14.6%), En Comú Podem (8.9%), Ciudadanos (7.9%), far-right Vox (6.9%), CUP (6.8%), the People's Party (5.8%), and PDeCAT (1.5%).

If these results are accurate, it would mean parties in favor of a Catalan republic would obtain only 42.8% of the vote, far from their desired 50%.

While the survey suggests Illa's party may win the largest share of the vote, the Socialists would still need to forge alliances in order to garner sufficient support to form a government. One possibility could be with anti-austerity En Comú Podem: the Catalan branch of Podemos and their government partners in Spain.

An agreement with Esquerra Republicana, on the other hand, is firmly off the table, despite both groups' left-leaning tendencies, while an alliance with the other unionist parties—Ciudadanos, far-right Vox, and the People's Party—would only be possible if they were able to set aside the deeply entrenched differences frequently on display in Spain's Congress.

Ciudadanos' fall from grace

Unionist Ciudadanos, Catalonia's most voted party in the December 2017 election following the failed independence push, is expected to lose a large share of the backing it once enjoyed amongst the electorate.

Slightly over three years ago, Carlos Carrizosa's party won 25.4% of the vote, which gave Cs 36 seats in parliament, yet CIS believes this figure will drop by 17.5% on February 14.

Also significant is the rise of the far-right in Catalonia, with Vox poised to enter the Catalan parliament for the first time ever and surpass far-left pro-independence CUP, the conservative unionist People's Party, as well as the heirs of former president Jordi Pujol's now-defunct CDC: the right-wing, pro-independence PDeCAT party.

Discrepancies with CEO poll

The CIS forecast differs significantly from the latest Catalan government-funded CEO poll published last Friday, which suggested the pro-independence majority in parliament was not under threat.

CEO predicted that parties in favor of a Catalan republic would amass 74 to 77 of the chamber's seats—a majority is set at 68—and win 51.2% of the vote. 

The poll also suggested that there would be a neck-to-neck battle for first place between the two current Catalan government coalition parties, ERC (34-35 seats, now at 32) and JxCat (32-34, now at 34), followed by the Socialists in third place after a significant surge (26-29, up from the 17 seats they have now).