If the Spanish Constitution was put to a vote today, only 27.8 per cent of Catalans would endorse it, according to a survey carried out by Institut Opinòmetre for ARA. This is a far cry from the 90.46 per cent support it garnered when it was passed in the 1978 referendum, with a 67.91 per cent turnout in Catalonia. The fact that less than a third of Catalans trust the text wielded by the Spanish government to stop Catalonia’s independence process proves that, for most of them, the Spanish Constitution is no longer a valid response. Furthermore, it also exposes the argument by Spanish nationalist parties, who often mention that the charter received a landslide approval in Catalonia.
To speak of the Constitution as a text carved in stone and to claim that Catalonia endorsed it enthusiastically is a biased argument to begin with: most Catalans never got to vote in the 1978 referendum. Our survey confirms this point: if given a chance, Catalans would vote against the Constitution. Because 18.7 per cent of respondents are undecided, the Yes vote might actually rise above the 27.8 per cent mark, but 39.7 per cent would vote against it and 11.3 per cent would abstain.
Despite its lack of support, the Spanish Constitution is the wall that PM Mariano Rajoy has raised to contain the independence process, starting with article 2 —which refers to Spain as an indivisible country— and article 155, which allows Madrid to strip a regional government of its powers. Rajoy is contemplating the latter as the most drastic measure against the Catalan government, ahead of the independence vote on October 1.
PP voters are the ones who would support the Constitution most keenly today (76.9 per cent), which validates the Partido Popular’s strategy of refusing to amend the charter flat out. Along similar lines, two thirds of Ciudadanos voters would endorse the Constitution —somewhat less enthusiastically, but still a strong show of support— while a third would not. Socialist voters in Catalonia (the PSC currently spearheads the demand for a constitutional reform) are evenly split on the subject: half of them would approve the Constitution, 31.8 per cent would not and 3.5 would abstain. Catalunya Sí que es Pot voters aren’t very fond of the Constitution, either: only 20 per cent of them would vote Yes in a referendum. The figure is even smaller in the case of PDECat sympathisers (18.7%), ERC (9.4%) and the CUP (5.9%), all of whom are hoping to draft a new Constitution: the Catalan Republic’s.
When you examine the data, it becomes patently obvious that Catalans do not expect the current Spanish Constitution to provide a fit for Catalonia in Spain. The Constitutional Court’s ruling against the Catalan Statute and Madrid’s reluctance to provide a legal answer for the referendum have been instrumental to the growth of separatism and, obviously, Catalonia’s disappointment with the Constitution.
Spain’s Carta Magna no longer elicits a consensus in Catalonia. The survey indicates that Catalans do not expect the Spanish political parties to come up with a solution the day after the referendum on independence. Only 31.7 per cent believe that the Spanish government will put forward a proposal after the vote. That figure is even lower when respondents are asked whether they feel that any Spanish party could offer a new hope that might change the minds of independence supporters.
The Partido Popular is the political party that Catalans trust the least: only 6.2 per cent of respondents have “a lot of or quite a lot” of confidence in an offer from the ruling party in Spain. This is hardly surprising: PM Mariano Rajoy has had five years since the independence process began to show a gesture towards Catalonia, but there have been none. PSOE and Ciudadanos score slightly better, but without much trust being shown, at 16 per cent. The socialist party carries a better public perception (36.8 of all respondents trust them very little, 42.2 not at all), while most respondents do not trust Ciudadanos at all. Podemos, which has rejected the vote on October 1 but otherwise supports the right to decide, has the best score (21.5 per cent trust them a lot or quite a lot). Funnily enough, though, Podemos has the lowest score among their own potential voters: 35.5 per cent of Catalunya Sí que es Pot sympathisers —the coalition of which Podemos is a member— have little trust in the party and 10 per cent, none whatsoever.
ARA’s opinion poll paints a depressing picture for supporters of a united Spain: not only does the current Constitution garner very little support, but the vast majority of Catalans do not expect a satisfactory response from any of the four main parties in Spain. Among other reasons, this explains why the vote on October 1 is on independence and why the figures show that we are likely to have a clear Yes win.