Barcelona, 10 April 2022
Three young people dressed in Spanish flags and estelades go to a demonstration in Girona. EFE/David Borrat EFE
Voters of all parties agree on demanding more money and infrastructures for Catalonia, according to the CEO
Independence radically divides Catalans, but there are many aspects of self-government that unite them, regardless of how they vote. The latest CEO omnibus poll, conducted at the end of 2021, confirms the existence of overlapping desires in Catalan public opinion that could be raised in dialogue with the state and enjoy almost universal support.
Greater investment in infrastructure is perhaps the objective that arouses the greatest support among Catalans of all ideological persuasions. Almost 90% believe that the state should invest more in Catalonia, and this opinion is shared not only by 97% of pro-independence voters but also by around 80% of voters opposed to secession (and up to 89% in the case of Vox). Another thing is that critical infrastructures, such as the expansion of El Prat, deeply divide voters of all colours.
THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT SHOULD INVEST MORE IN INFRASTRUCTURE IN CATALONIA
The referendum enjoys a high level of support, but arouses frontal opposition from the pro-Spanish right.
The other demand that garners widespread support is the financing of Catalan self-government. Seventy per cent of those consulted by the CEO consider it urgent to modify the system in order to reduce the Generalitat’s deficit. And in this case, beyond the unanimous demand registered among the pro-independence electorate (close to 90%), 66% of Socialist voters and 63% of PP or Vox voters demand more money for Catalonia.
IT IS URGENT TO MODIFY THE FINANCING SYSTEM TO REDUCE CATALONIA’S DEFICIT
Even an issue as sensitive as the presence of the language in institutional public spaces is receiving a high level of support that reinforces some of the current rules. For example, 70% consider it a “mandatory requirement” for judges and prosecutors operating in Catalonia to know Catalan. And although there are deeper divisions on this issue, more than 60 per cent of left-wing voters support this requirement, as do almost half of Ciudadanos voters and more than 40 per cent of PP voters. However, a third of PSC voters, 57% of Popular voters and 70% of Vox voters oppose the requirement.
Support for independence divides Catalans and was 11 points below the rejection rate last December.
The referendum to decide Catalonia’s future in Spain has a higher overall support (74%), but, at the same time, it generates high levels of rejection in a sector of the electorate. It is true that the referendum has the backing of almost 30% of Vox voters, 35% of PP voters, 47% of Cs voters and 60% of PSC voters. But at the same time it is rejected by 70% of ultras voters, 65% of PP voters and even 30% of socialists.
WHAT CATALONIA SHOULD BE
Finally, the ultimate goal of a self-determination referendum – independence – not only radically confronts Catalans but also has declining support. Compared to 41% who support secession, 52% oppose it, an unprecedented correlation. And the internal division of Catalan society seals the unfeasibility of the break with Spain. Some 90% of Junts voters and almost 85% of ERC and CUP voters are in favour of secession, but 95% of voters on the Spanish right, 85% of PSC voters and even 65% of Common voters oppose it.
More than 60% would support Catalonia’s continuity in Spain with a federal system like the German one.
Does this mean that there is no room for improvement in self-government? There is, but only for a limited extension. While 41% believe Catalonia’s current level of autonomy to be sufficient, 52% consider it insufficient. And while 40% defend the autonomous status quo and 33% only support independence, the remaining 21% are in favour of a federal model. Thus, of the 52% who are dissatisfied, more than a third would be satisfied with a system similar to German federalism. And in that case, support for continuity in Spain could rise from 52% to more than 60%, according to the survey data.