CARLES CASTRO. BARCELONA
12/21/2020 01: 20Updated to 12/21/2020 10:34
Demonstration after confirming the disqualification of the president of the Generalitat Quim Torra last September EFE
The Catalan Republic is, depending on how you look at it, a beautiful dream or a terrible nightmare for many citizens of Catalonia. At the peak of the sovereignty process, the positions seemed 50% distributed, with a slight advantage for those in favor of remaining in Spain. But almost a decade after the sovereignty emergence, the dream is fading and only 8% of citizens trust that independence will materialize in the short term, according to the 2020 survey of the Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials (ICPS). Even the preference for secession as the most suitable territorial model for Catalonia has fallen ten points since 2014 (from 45% to 35%), according to the Center d’Estudis d’Opinió (CEO).
Recent experience seems to have reduced the perimeter of pro-independence. At least on the plane of reality. Virtually more than 40% of Catalans (according to both the CEO and the ICPS) would vote in favor of independence in a hypothetical consultation. But that percentage falls when citizens are asked if they prefer Catalonia to be an independent state or to continue to be part of Spain.
65% of citizen fear that the attempt to separate from Spain will generate a conflict of coexistence in Catalonia.
90% of the pro-independence electorate (which supported Junts, Esquerra or the CUP in 2017) would vote affirmatively in an imaginary referendum of self-determination. But that percentage drops to 80% when those same voters are asked if what they prefer is that Catalonia be an independent state. And the rate of support for independence falls even more – even below 70% – when what is asked to these voters is “how they would like the pro-sovereignty process to end.” One in four would choose an agreement with the State that would expand the self-government of Catalonia. Now, when you enter the realm of stark reality, the percentages are further reduced. When asked “how do you think the pro-sovereignty process will end”, only 25% of the voters of JxCat and the CUP, and 13% of those of Esquerra, are convinced that independence awaits at the end of the road. On the contrary, about 40% of Puigdemont’s followers and almost 50% of Junqueras’s supporters expect some kind of agreement that will expand Catalan self-government. And, pay attention, one in five even foresees the abandonment of the procés.
Catalan public opinion about the procés
The reality, however, is broader and also reflects the deep division that the pro-sovereignty project provokes in Catalan society. According to the CEO, independence would face 45%, in favor, with 50%, against. And according to the ICPS, supporters would fall to 41% while opponents would be divided between those who would cast a negative vote in a referendum (32%) and those who would not recognize the legitimacy of a consultation on that issue and would abstain (22% ). That is to say, disaffection towards independence reaches 55% of Catalans.
The polarization of Catalonia into two irreconcilable blocs is also observed in another data: compared to 80% of sovereignty voters in favor of an independent State, 95% of the voters of Ciudadanos, PSC or PP, and 65% of the Communs, align themselves in favor of continuing within Spain. Hence, two-thirds of Catalans admit their concern about the possibility that the independence debate causes problems of coexistence in Catalonia. This set of indicators suggests that the procés has entered a dead end as it was initially conceived, and its promoters must face landing in reality. Another thing is that this is possible at the gates of a very close electoral campaign, especially in the independence movement.