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Most Catalans say no to independence: new poll

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Most Catalans say no to independence: new poll
Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP
13:25 CET+01:00
For the first time since Catalonia's independence drive began to pick up momentum in 2012, more people are against independence from Spain than in favour of such a move, a new poll run by the regional government shows.

The poll carried out in early December by the Catalan government research institute, the CEO, reveals that a very slim majority of people in the region favour staying with Spain.

When the CEO asked people directly if they were in favour of independence or not, 45.3 percent of people surveyed said they were against independence while 44.5 percent said they were in favour.

The result — the first of its kind since 2012 — is  a blow to the regional government of Artur Mas, which campaigned through most of 2014 to be allowed to stage a non-binding poll on independence despite staunch opposition from Madrid.

Mas eventually had to make do with a symbolic vote on November 9th which saw around 2.3 million people vote out a total estimated 5.4 million eligible voters. Of those voters 80 percent said yes to independence.

The conservative government in Madrid labelled the vote a farce while Mas called it "a total success".

But in further bad news for Mas and his government, when the CEO asked people what kind of state structure they wanted for Catalonia, they found a fall of nine percent in the proportion of people who wanted to see Catalonia become an independent state — down to 36.2 percent in the latest poll compared with 45.3 percent in October. 

Meanwhile, the number of people who favour Catalonia becoming a federal state within Spain has risen from 22.2 percent in October to 28.9 percent.

Of those questioned, 21.8 percent wanted Catalonia to continue being an autonomous community.

The new CEO study also found that 38.2 percent of people in the region felt 'equally Spanish and Catalan' while 26 percent said they felt more Catalan than Spanish and 24 percent said they felt only Catalan.

In terms of sympathy for individual parties, pro-independence groups won the most support with 16.1 percent of people saying they felt the most affinity with the left-wing pro-independence ERC party while 13.7 percent of people chose the ruling CiU party.

For Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party, this figure was just 2.8 percent

In terms of the 2015 general election, 20.4 percent of people are planning to vote for newcomer political party Podemos, which could prove a serious threat to Spain’s established political parties as it gains popularity throughout the country.

The study, which took place from December 9th to December 13th, asked 1,100 people aged 18 and over their views on the current political situation in Catalonia. 

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