Carles Castro – Barcelona – 16 May 2021
GAD3 Survey for La Vanguardia
Infinite tiredness Catalan society shows signs of exhaustion in the face of unviable projects that seem to dominate the roadmap of forces that could form the backbone of a majority government in Catalonia. Endorsement of independence is a good gauge of that fatigue. And right now it’s not just that opponents of secession outnumber its supporters. The GAD3 survey draws an even more resounding correlation: 52% of the citizenry state that they would vote negatively in a referendum on independence compared to less than 42% who would vote in favor.
Since last January, support for the break with Spain has fallen by just one point, but rejection has grown by three, clearly crossing the 50% line. The problem with this correlation is that it reflects an apparently irreconcilable division between the voters of the different political forces, to the point of hijacking their respective room for maneuver.
Objectives of the legislature
22% want to negotiate self-determination but more than 40% opt for more self-government
In this sense, 80% of the voters of Esquerra, 90% of those of Junts and practically all of the CUP would support the secession in a consultation. On the other hand, almost 90% of the followers of the PSC and more than 90% of the voters of the PP, Vox and Ciudadanos would vote against. Even seven out of ten electors of the commons would reject independence in a referendum.
However, faced with this binary dilemma that turns the world into a black and white scenario, the pragmatism of Catalan society emerges when various options are put on the table. And, specifically, when asking about the most appropriate way to resolve the Catalan conflict, solutions appear with greater transversal support. The main one would be an improvement in the financing system in Catalonia.
Opposition to a breakup
Only 12% of Catalans, and less than 25% of secessionist voters, would support a new DUI
Support for a new regional financing model reaches 36% of those consulted – eight points more than in January – and the most important thing is that it does not provoke absolute rejection in almost any group of voters. He would be supported by half of the voters of the PSC, one in four of ERC, one in five of the commons and even one in ten of Junts. And it would also have the fundamental support of almost 70% of the voters of the PP or 60% of those of Cs (and even a third of those of Vox).
The next option – a constitutional reform that would not be incompatible with a new financing model – has the support of 24% of those consulted. And by groups of voters, the support is quite homogeneous: a third of the voters of ERC, one in four followers of the PSC or the PP, and one in five of the CUP or Vox. The least support would be registered again among the electorate of Junts (only one in eight).
Financing is imposed as the preferred way to resolve the Catalan conflict
In fact, only the voters of the Puigdemont party and the CUP cling to a referendum of self-determination as the only way out of the Catalan crisis, to the point that 70% of them are betting exclusively on that route. On the other hand, only slightly more than a third of ERC voters share that bet, which is not supported by practically any of the voters in the rest of the formations.
In reality, general support for the consultation as a way out of the Catalan crisis has lost four points since January, currently falling below 23%. However, the decantation of Catalan society towards pragmatism is ratified by the response offered by the survey to the priorities that the new Government of Catalonia should have. And there, support for a negotiation to improve financing and self-government now exceeds 40% of those consulted.
In fact, only 12% of voters would be inclined to approve a new Unilateral Declaration of Independence (DUI) and proclaim the Catalan republic, a percentage identical to that of those in favor of limiting themselves to managing the powers of the current Statute.
To facilitate pardon
52% support that the independence prisoners promise to respect the Constitution and the Statute
The second option with the most support, however, would be to negotiate a referendum on self-determination and an amnesty for the independence prisoners. More than 22% of citizens would support this strategy, although the different preferences for groups of voters reflect the traditional divisions that Catalan society crosses.
For example, half of the voters of the Junts and the CUP, and 40% of those of the ERC would support that the new Govern should prioritize self-determination and amnesty. But among the rest of voters, that roadmap would only have the support of a third of the followers of the Comúns.
For its part, the strategy of negotiating an improvement in financing would have the overwhelming endorsement of socialist and popular voters (in more than 60%) and of just over a third of the voters of Esquerra, the commons or Vox. Among those from Junts, on the other hand, support would fall to around 14%. In any case, the support of the pro-independence voters themselves for a strategy to break with the law is far from majority. Only about 25% of Junts voters and 17% of Esquerra voters (plus a third of CUP voters) would support the approval of a new DUI. Likewise, the GAD3 survey has asked about the support that the pardon of pro-independence prisoners registers in Catalan society. And the truth is that this measure continues to have broad support, which remains above 60%, compared to 32% who oppose it. However, under these figures there are notable divisions, especially among voters who do not support the independence process. For example, PSC voters are evenly divided between supporters and detractors. And among Citizens, six out of ten are against, a rejection that reaches 75% of popular voters and 90% of Vox. Of course, among pro-independence voters – but also common ones – support for the pardon stands at 90%, with a minimal rejection that can only be interpreted as a preference for amnesty in response to the sentence handed down by the Supreme Court. However, Catalan society is aware that the processing of the pardon will present many difficulties if there is no explicit commitment on the part of the secessionist prisoners to respect constitutional and statutory legality in their future actions. Hence, 52% of those consulted consider that those convicted of the procés “should publicly commit to respect the Constitution and the Statute to facilitate the processing of the pardon.” And that commitment to respect the legality even has the support of almost half of ERC voters, one in four from Junts and one in five from CUP.