Poll in Catalonia shows increase in opposition to independence

Just over half of respondents also back a sovereignty referendum against the wishes of the rest of Spain

The number of Catalans who oppose separating from Spain has grown over the last three months to 48.5%, compared with 44.3% who support secession. The figures were released on Thursday by the Catalan regional government’s Center for Opinion Studies, whose most recent poll shows the widest gap between both options since June 2015, shortly before the northeastern region held its last election.

A march in Barcelona on September 11.
A march in Barcelona on September 11.GERARD JULIEN (AFP)

Asked “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state?”, 48.5% of respondents said no, while 44.3% said yes.

Three months earlier, at the December poll, 46.8% of respondents opposed an independent Catalan state, while 45.3% had supported it. That gap of 1.5 percentage points has now grown to 4.2 points.

Catalonia already held an informal “consultation” in November 2014

Another question offered respondents different options as to the best future for Catalonia: as a region of Spain, as a comunidad autónoma or autonomous community (its current status), as a state within a federal Spain, or as a fully independent state.

The poll shows that 28.5% of respondents chose to preserve the status quo, nearly five points more than at the last poll (23.6%).

However, the most popular option remained a fully independent state (37.3%). The “state within a federal Spain” possibility received 21.7% support, a significant drop from the 29.2% of the last survey.

Former Catalan premier Artur Mas recently stood trial over a 2014 referendum.
Former Catalan premier Artur Mas recently stood trial over a 2014 referendum.Albert García

For the first time, the survey also asked “Are you in favor of celebrating a referendum about the independence of Catalonia?”, and 50.3% of respondents checked the answer “Yes, irrespective of whether the Spanish government wants it or not.” Another 23.3% selected “Yes, but only if it is agreed with the Spanish government,” while 22.7% opposed any sort of independence referendum for the region.

If a referendum were unilaterally organized and held by the Catalan government, 43.3% said they would vote in favor of independence, 22.2% would vote against, 6.2% would cast a blank ballot and 20.7% would abstain. Catalonia already held an informal “consultation” in November 2014, and the Catalan premier at the time, Artur Mas, recently stood trial along with two top aides over their role in a vote that the Spanish Constitutional Court had banned.

Asked what party or coalition they would vote for if elections to the Catalan parliament were held tomorrow, 27.9% favored Junts pel Sí, a coalition led by the former Convergència (now Democratic Party of Catalonia) and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) that won the last elections. However, this choice would no longer be an option in a real-life election due to disagreements between both partners.

English version by Susana Urra.

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