The majority of Catalans want a referendum, but reject independence

The second opinion barometer of the Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (CEO) for the year 2020 shows that Catalan society is still divided, barely three years after the referendum. However, the 2000 respondents agreed on one point: A referendum should provide clarity about the future of Catalonia.

Almost 79 percent of Catalans want a referendum to decide the political future of Catalonia.
Pitxiquin/CC BY-SA 4.0

Approval for independence declines

A clear majority of 50.5 per cent of respondents said that they would not support Catalan independence in a referendum. With “yes” 42 percent would vote. This is the lowest figure since June 2017. The rest remained undecided. Nevertheless, the data also show that a majority of 60.9% think that Catalonia has not yet achieved a sufficient degree of autonomy.

Looking more closely, it is striking that support for an independent Catalan republic has also fallen to its lowest level in years. Only just over a third would prefer this form of government. Meanwhile, the number of supporters of the status quo has increased significantly in recent surveys. Even the faction that wants a Catalan state within a federal Spanish state lost support slightly.

ERC would win regional elections

While a majority of the Catalan population rejects independence, the parties in favour of independence would receive a majority in parliament. If regional elections were held on Sunday, the left-wing Republicans of the ERC would win the elections with up to 35 seats. The party of president Quim Torra (the bourgeois pro-independence party Junts per Catalunya) would come second. The radical left-wing CUP would double its seats to eight and the Social Democrats (PSC) would gain slightly.

The currently strongest faction in Ciudadanos would lose around half of its seats and in the best case scenario fall back to 18. The conservative Partido Popular could gain up to eight seats (currently four) and for the first time the extreme right-wing party Vox could also enter the Catalan parliament.

However, an important component for the current mood may not yet have been included in the survey: The Spanish judiciary has lifted the loosening of the prison sentences for the imprisoned Catalan politicians. This could create more sympathy for the independentistas.