Catalan Independence Drive Fizzles: Poll Shows Only 24% Want Split From Spain
The Catalan push for independence appears to be fizzling at the grass roots level, at least according to the latest poll published by El Pais newspaper on Monday, which found that not even a quarter of Catalans want to continue with the push to claim independence from Spain in the wake of Dec. 21 regional elections.
Just 24% of those polled by Metroscopia said they would like to continue with the independence process after the elections, whereas 71% said they would prefer politicians find an agreement based on Catalonia staying part of Spain. The telephone poll surveyed 1,800 Catalans between Nov. 20 and Nov. 22. Should pro-independence enthusiasm be waning, pro-independence parties may fail to retain an absolute majority of seats in the Catalan parliament in next month’s election, the first part of the poll published on Sunday showed.
While in the aftermath of Brexit and Trump one should take all polling with a grain of salt, especially those commissioned by anti-separatist outlets, the poll suggests that there has been a slowdown in the independence fervor following the Catalan independence referendum on Oct. 1, which plunged Spain into its worst political crisis in decades. The crisis reportedly “eased” after the sacking of the secessionist Catalan authorities by the Madrid government elicited little public resistance. Still, as Reuters notes, “uncertainty could return if the pro-independence camp wins in the Dec. 21 vote.”
Furthermore, as Reuters also notes, the survey’s margin of error at 2.4% and the fact support was evenly split between the two sides makes reading conclusions from polls difficult.
Still, failure to capture a majority in the regional parliament would be a heavy blow for Catalan separatists who have billed the election as a plebiscite on Madrid’s decision to impose direct rule on the region last month. The Oct. referendum produced a large majority in favor of independence, but turnout was only 43% because many who opposed the breakaway did not vote.
Catalan separatist parties are forecast to win 46 percent of the vote, down slightly from 47.7 percent in a previous election in 2015. Unionist parties combined would account for another 46 percent of votes, up from less than 40 percent last time, according to the Metroscopia poll.
According to Reuters, turnout for the election, which former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Saturday would be the most important in the region’s history, is predicted to reach a record 80%.
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Featured image of Catalan flag courtesy of AP
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