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New survey sees percentage of Catalans against independence rise

According to an official poll by the the regional government, 48.8% of citizens now reject secession from Spain, compared to 41.9% who are in favor

Catalan regional premier Quim Torra, who is a hardline supporter of independence.
Catalan regional premier Quim Torra, who is a hardline supporter of independence. EFE

Support for independence in Catalonia continues to fall, while the distance between those in favor and those against secession from Spain is growing. That’s according to the latest survey from the regional government’s official CEO research center, which shows that 41.9% of Catalan citizens are in favor of independence while 48.8% reject it – the latter being the highest figure since July 2017.

The survey was carried out between September 16 and October 7 of this year, and is based on interviews with 1,500 people. The polling was performed before a recent Supreme Court ruling that jailed nine pro-independence leaders for their involvement in the 2017 pro-secession drive and a unilateral declaration of independence.

The polling was carried out before a recent Supreme Court ruling that jailed nine pro-independence leaders

Compared to the previous CEO survey, released in July of this year, the percentage of Catalans opposed to independence is up. The results released in the summer saw 44% in favor of independence and those against at 48.3%. The gap between the two sides in July was 4.3 percentage points, whereas this latest survey puts that distance at 6.9 percentage points.

The poll results also contain another piece of data showing a fall in support for secession from Spain. On answering the question “Do you believe that Catalonia should be…,” most of those interviewed – 33.6% – chose “an independent state” from the four options listed. But this is the lowest percentage for this question since the 2012 edition of the poll. Just 18 months ago, in April 2018, this response was backed by 40.8% of those surveyed. The second-most-popular answer is the current situation, “an autonomous region” (28%, up one point on the last survey), followed by “a state within a federal Spain” (21.6%, nearly three points down on July), and “a region of Spain” (7.8%, 1.5 points down on the last survey).

Nearly 59% of respondents said that Catalonia’s autonomy is insufficient, but this is the lowest figure for some time

The regional government’s survey also asks about Catalonia’s level of autonomy. Nearly 59% of respondents said that it is insufficient, but this is the lowest figure for some time. Not since 2007 have fewer than 60% of those surveyed given that answer. Meanwhile, 25.1% said in this survey that the current level of autonomy is sufficient, the highest figure for this question since 2017, when 26.4% of respondents said the same. Just 6.5% of people surveyed answered that Catalonia has “too much autonomy.”

At Sunday’s repeat general election, the pro-independence parties (the Catalan Republican Left, Together for Catalonia and the far-left CUP) secured 42.59% of the vote in the region, while those groups that are against secession picked up 39.85%. The latter block includes political parties as diverse as the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the conservative Popular Party (PP), center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) and far-right Vox. En Comú Podem, a coalition of Catalunya en Comú and Podemos, falls between the two blocs, given that it wants to see a referendum on Catalan independence. That group took 14.18% of the vote in Sunday’s elections in Catalonia.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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