CEO survey
Politics 13/01/2022

Only JxCat voters give conflict with the state priority

Respondents give government a 4.85 out of 10 after its first year in office

3 min
Puigneró, Aragonés and Vilagrà addressing the Executive Board meeting on Tuesday.

BarcelonaThere are not many changes in assessment between Pere Aragonès's first year at the head of the Generalitat and Quim Torra's last. The Government is close to passing with an average score of 4.85, according to the survey made public this Thursday by the Centre for Opinion Studies (CEO). This is similar to last year's 4.78, and the percentage of citizens who approve of the executive does not change either, 62%. The conclusions provided by CEO data point to stability in the perception that Catalans have of the Government despite the change in the presidency. In fact, the only changes come when analysing the microdata: ERC voters are more satisfied now than with Torra (from 5.5 to 5.85) and, on the other hand, Junts voters are less satisfied (from 6.1 to 5.3). En Comú, government's main partners –at least when it comes to voting in the House– also give the executive a pass mark (5.25), up from 4.4 a year ago. CUP voters, on the other hand, fail the government with a 4.25. The president also fails among the voters of other parties.

Unemployment, housing and justice are the three areas in which the Government got its worst marks. On the other hand, those surveyed highlight its management in areas such as equality, education and culture. Health and language also receive a mark above average, while the environment, the economy, social services and security barely receive a pass.

The survey is the first to be presented by the new director of the CEO, political scientist Jordi Muñoz, who recently took over from Jordi Argelaguet after 10 years in the post. "We detect a lot of stability in the data since 2018, but if we look at them by electorate we find that there are opposing trends among those of the parties that form the Govern," he noted. The difference between ERC and Junts voters is also significant in another far-reaching question. "In your opinion, should the government of the Generalitat prioritise trying to solve the political problem between Catalonia and Spain or should it focus on managing public services that are within its competence?" Junts voters are the only ones in the survey who consider solving the conflict a priority (61% compared to 37% who choose public services).

Managing public services and trying to resolve the political conflict are not incompatible objectives. The CEO's question, which had already been asked in recent years, asks which of the two has to be a priority. In total, 59.5% of Catalans think that the management of public services should be a priority, whilst 37.5% believe the Independence bid should come first. Among ERC voters, the percentage in favor of prioritising management is even higher than the average (63.3%), and those who choose to resolve the conflict with the State is slightly lower (35.6%).

The average evaluation of the State government continues to be worse than that of the Generalitat (4.4, with 54% of citizens approving of its management) and the perception of the Catalan public administration (49.4% rate it very or fairly positively) is also above the evaluation of the State administration in Catalonia (for 33.9% it is very or fairly positive).

Management of the pandemic

The survey, which was carried out before the restrictions imposed by the Generalitat over Christmas (and which are due to end next week), also includes a specific section on the management of the pandemic. More than 60% of the population considers that the restrictions that had been applied until then were adequate (27% insufficient and 8% excessive) and, in general, the Government gets a pass mark in all health areas. The best mark is obtained in the vaccination process, 7.69 out of ten, and the worst in health care in Primary Care Centres (5.61). The care in hospitals, the adequacy of the measures to the state of the pandemic and the management of schools receive a mark above 6.

Keeping taxes the same

It is also clear from the survey that there is a general consensus in emphasising the importance of public services. This is not new, but rather a perception that has been around for a long time. What the CEO does detect is a downward trend among those asking for more. Specifically, the question asks respondents whether they would like taxes to be increased in order to improve the provision of public services, whether they prefer to maintain current taxes and services, or whether they believe that taxes should be lowered even if it is at the expense of public services. Some 48.2% of those surveyed prefer to keep everything as it is now and 36.1% advocate raising taxes. On the other hand, 8.6% would lower them. This means that those in favour of keeping taxes as they are now are up by seven points, while the other two options are down compared to last year.