Do Catalans really want independence?

Yes, they do. Even after so many years of repression and massive migrations from Spain, the majority of Catalans still would vote for independence if a referendum was held tomorrow.

According to the last Barometer [PDF, Catalan] of the Centre for the Study of Opinion [Catalan] (CEO), a public institution of the Catalan administration, 43.9% of Catalans would vote yes to independence, while 28.2% would vote against it and 23.3% would not vote.

Taking into account the abstention of 23.3%, the supporters of independence would win the referendum with 60.3% of votes, compared to 39.6% of negative votes.

The Barometer also reveals that the predominant reasons of the voters for independence are rational: for 36.4% of them, the most important reason is the capacity and wish of economic autonomy. Other reasons, in order of importance, include sentiment of not being respected by Spain (13.3%), identity (11.5%), sentiment of being citizen of Catalonia as a nation (10.4%), increase of capacity of decision and autonomy (10.3%), capacity of being self-sufficient (7.1%), wish for a different model of country (4.7%) and independence being the only way to improve (3.6%), amongst others.

It is worth noting that reviewers could only choose one reason, the most important for them, so this figures do not mean that, for example, only 11.5% of Catalans want independence for identity reasons.

In the case of those against independence, the reasons are less rational: unity of Spain—one of the mottos of the fascist dictator Franco— (42.6%), identity (18.7%), support of globalization—remove borders—(10.7%), it would be negative for Catalonia (9.7%), preference for a federal model (5.7%), it is not an important nor viable model (4%), independence is extremism (2.9%) amongst others.

The results of the Barometer, one of the most credible opinion surveys, confirm what other polls and surveys from universities, scientific institutions, private organizations and media have been showing during the last years: support for independence is mainstream and growing at enormous speed.

In 2003, the “Pulsómetro”, a survey by Cadena Ser, the Spanish radio station with most listeners, showed that 30% of Catalans supported independence, while in its 2010 edition support for an independent Catalonia grew to 42%.

In September 2010 the second most listened radio in Catalonia, RAC1, published a survey [PDF, Catalan] showing 48.4% of support for independence, compared to 41.4% of citizens that would vote against it in a referendum.

In February 2010 a survey by the Open University of Catalonia revealed that 50.4% of Catalans would support independence in a referendum, while only 17.8% would vote against it. Previous editions of this survey show the growth over the years: 36.5%/22.1% (2008); 50.3%/17.8% (2009).

Also in 2010, the two most widespread newspapers in Catalonia, La Vanguardia and El Periódico de Catalunya, published similar surveys in which support for independence in a referendum had grown to 47% and 48.1% respectively, while only 36% and 35.3% were against it.

The prestigious 10 years long European Survey of Values by ESADE (one of the best Business Schools in the world) and Carulla Fundation, revealed that support for Catalan independence has tripled from 2000 to 2010, and 45% of Catalans would now vote yes in a referendum. This study was finished before the sentence of the Spanish Constitutional Court against the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, approved by the Catalans in a referendum in 2006, a sentence that reportedly multiplied the support for independence.

Demonstration "We are a nation. We decide" in Barcelona on July 2010,
with +1 million attendants - Photo by VilaWeb

The different surveys suppose abstention rates from 7% to 25%, showing that the referendum would result in independence regardless of the participation. Both participation and affirmative votes would surpass the 60% of participation and 55% of favourable votes required in previous referendums on independence in other countries.

The different figures also show that support for independence is growing across voters of all political parties.

Only the Spanish government can call for referendums in Spain, even if they are to be held only in a part of the kingdom’s territory. Several citizen’s legislative initiatives for a binding or even non-binding referendum to be held in Catalonia have been rejected by the Catalan Parliament because it is legally impossible for it to call for such a referendum, thus rendering Catalans unable to exercise their human right of self-determination.

Update January 2012
According to a new survey by El Periódico (the second most read newspaper in the country), 53% of Catalans would vote YES to independence for Catalonia while only 32% would oppose.

Related articles:
From 20th century nationalism to 21st century independentism
Catalonia would remain in EU if it became independent from Spain
Catalan separatism: anachronism or a new proposal?
A Europe of Everyone, also of the Catalans
Why I support Independence of Catalonia

11 comentaris:

  • Anònim says:
    15 d’agost de 2011, a les 1:38

    I'm solidary with your cause, but if only Spanish government can call for referendums, how will you guys get your independence? :(

  • Anònim says:
    15 d’agost de 2011, a les 6:47

    Declaring the independence first. Then as a new estate make the referendum

    It's easy


  • Jordi says:
    15 d’agost de 2011, a les 11:08

    First of all thanks if you are solidary with our cause, because it is your cause too: freedom.
    Look at history and you will find the answer: how was Normay independent?, and Hungary?, or more recently Kosovo?.
    It is easy.

  • Catamunt says:
    15 d’agost de 2011, a les 11:20

    No matter where you live, one thing that you can do for this cause is what will also be useful for many other causes: let people know that as human beings we are all equals, and that nations are also equal. That diversity is not bad, but, on the contrary, it is the great treasure of humanity. Protecting that diversity of nations, languages, traditions, cultures, ways of thinking and doing is very important. But to protect it we also need unity, a united humankind. We need the United Nations to be strong enough to enforce human rights and international law everywhere. If international law was to be applied, we could easily exercise our right of self-determination.

  • miquel says:
    27 d’agost de 2011, a les 7:23

    We hope that years go by we Catalan society don't have to struggle because of econonic social cuts, as the plans of Ciu major party at Catalunya are going in this direction, but maybe that is going to be the way for people realize that independence is the only way posible.

  • Anònim says:
    20 d’octubre de 2011, a les 14:35

    the catalonia people should have their independence to protect their culture custom they need their own identity and promote the interest o theirs. i support they a right to self-determination as humans spaniard should understand this and respect their demand "freedom for catalonia"

  • Adam Shreve says:
    7 de gener de 2013, a les 8:49

    Why not a model lke that of the UK? Distinct autonomous countries in a united nation. There is more strength in a united Spain as long as there is MUTUAL respect between the members of Spain. It would be a tragedy for two countries w so much in common to split because of extremists on either side. Other countries like Belgium and Switzerland have distinct regions which have heir own language and identity but are one nation. The plurality makes them stronger in my opinion.

  • YuriBCN says:
    7 de gener de 2013, a les 13:48

    Adam: Here's why http://www.helpcatalonia.cat/2011/08/why-i-support-independence-of-catalonia.html

  • YuriBCN says:
    7 de gener de 2013, a les 13:48

    Adam: Here's why http://www.helpcatalonia.cat/2011/08/why-i-support-independence-of-catalonia.html

  • Adam Shreve says:
    7 de gener de 2013, a les 18:21

    Gracias. El articulo esta muy bueno y buen punto de vista. Si despues de tantos intentos al federalismo han fallidos, pues, entiendo que van a querer algo mas. Aunque todovia me parece una lastima. Conozco re bien a todos partes de espana, Galicia, catalúnia, país vasco y volvería seguro. Siempre que los catalanes me permiten hablar en castellano ya que entiendo catalán pero hablar, aun no. En este hemisferio seria imposible. ;)

  • YuriBCN says:
    8 de gener de 2013, a les 0:49

    Adam: If and when you come, I would be pleased to use any language (within my grasp) you may wish to speak in, even Spanish! You will be most welcome to the independent Republic of Catalonia! ;-)

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