Catalan independence biggest problem for Spaniards after unemployment, poll shows

Concern over secession soared from 7.8% in September to 29% in October, according to a CIS survey

A Catalan pro-independence flag in front of the Catalan government headquarters.
A Catalan pro-independence flag in front of the Catalan government headquarters.LLUIS GENE (AFP)

Catalan independence ranks second among Spain’ three top problems, a new opinion poll shows.

Asked about Spain’s three biggest problems, 29% of respondents selected the secessionist push as one of their options, up from just 7.8% in September.

Retirees and business execs are particularly concerned about the issue

The Spanish government‘s Center for Sociology Research (CIS) conducted the survey between October 2 and 11, right after a banned referendum on independence was held in Catalonia.

Unemployment remains the top concern for Spaniards with 66.2% of respondents listing it as one of the three biggest problems in the country. Corruption and fraud ranked third at 28.3%.

Before June of this year, concern about Catalan separatism had never ranked anywhere above two percent.

Popular Party (PP) voters showed the greatest concern over the issue (38.4 %), followed closely by supporters of the former Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (37.5%), now renamed PDeCAT and part of the separatist coalition that has been pushing for secession ever since its narrow victory at the 2015 election.

Before June, concern about Catalan separatism had never ranked above two percent

Retirees and pensioners are particularly concerned by Catalan independence, (33.3%), but so are business executives in the public and private sectors (30.4%). Broken down by age, respondents 55 and over are significantly more worried than younger people polled by the CIS: 32.1% in the 55-to-64 age group, and 26.2% in the 18-to-24 age bracket.

Asked about the way Spain should be structured as a state, there was a rise in respondents wishing to preserve the current system of devolved powers to the regions (39.2% up from 36%). There was also a slight rise in citizens willing to let a region decide on its independence (from 9.6% to 10.2%). There was a drop in respondents who want more central power (from 18.9% to 17.5%).

English version by Susana Urra.


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