Politics 29/01/2021

Opinion polls predict a tight battle between ERC and JxCat during 14-F elections

'Illa effect' would win a maximum of four seats, compared to those predicted for Iceta

3 min
Laura Borràs and Pere Aragonès

BarcelonaThe uncertainty of 14-F is at its maximum point, with variables as difficult to interpret as the effect of the pandemic, the pending decision of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia or the possible soaring growth of abstention. That is why the polls offer, a priori, very contradictory results. This Friday the polls have predicted a tight battle between ERC (34-35 seats) and JxCat (32-34), and have limited the Illa effect to a third position that already seemed guaranteed for the PSC when Miquel Iceta was in front of the party (26-29). The landslide for Ciudadanos would be historic, going from 36 deputies to a range of between 12 and 13, and there would still be four more forces in the Parliament: the PP with 9 seats; the comuns with 6-8; the CUP with 8; and Vox, which would enter for the first time the Catalan chamber with 5-6. All this with 33% of respondents who confess to be "undecided" two weeks before election day, and with a drop in turnout to 62%.

If the CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas - Sociological Research Centre) pointed last week to a very close fight between ERC and PSC for the victory (with the PSC ahead), the CEO (Centre for Opinion Studies) calculate that there will be a dispute, but this will be between the Republicans and JxCat. The distance between them in the estimation of vote is only 1.3 points and, in fact, it follows the same trend as the latest polls of the agency. Junts goes up (20.7% in vote estimation) and ERC goes down (22%), according to the CEO, which now a month ago gave 35 seats to Oriol Junqueras' party and between 30 and 32 to the party headed by Carles Puigdemont. In the last Catalan elections, it was Junts who ended up winning at the last moment despite starting far behind in the polls.

The electoral campaign has begun with a truce between the two formations, which prefer to attack the PSC and its brand new candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat. Salvador Illa burst with force at the end of last year when, by surprise, he replaced Miquel Iceta at the head of the socialist candidacy. The CEO poll Barometer, however, limits the impact of the former Minister of Health. He would get between 26 and 29 MPs. In any case, all the polls place the Socialists on the rise (19.6% of the vote), especially compared to the 2017 elections, when, wiped off the map by Ciudadanos, they had to settle for 17 seats.

Absolute pro-independence majority

Another unknown that will have to be resolved on 14-F is whether the independence movement will continue to have an absolute majority in Parliament. The Barometer of this Friday has no doubt: in fact, ERC and JxCat aspire to obtain the absolute majority without having to pivot in other formations. The sum of the current partners of Government would go from the 66 seats they already had in the last legislature to 69, one above the absolute majority. With the addition of the CUP, independence could reach a historical record of between 74 and 77 MPs (in 2015 it got 72, and in 2017 it fell to 70).

And, in the opinion of the CEO poll, it is also very close to surpassing 50% of the votes. If to these three formations one adds the PDECat - which would not obtain representation in the chamber by not reaching 3% of the votes - the independentist movement would represent practically 52% of the voters. This, however, does not necessarily mean that there are more votes than four years ago. At that time, with a record turnout, the pro-independence parties obtained 2,079,340 votes, which would now be difficult to revalidate if the turnout ends up dropping 17 points (from 79 to 62%), as the survey assumes.

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