A few hours before the pre-election ban on publishing new opinion polls for the February 14th election came into force on Monday night, El Nacional.cat published the last legal opinion survey before Catalans go to vote on Sunday. Three major headlines: the closeness of the three parties vying for victory, ERC (Catalan Republican Left), PSC (Catalan Socialist Party) and Junts (Together for Catalonia), has tightened further; the expected voter turnout continues to fall, and may fall below 60%; and the number of voters undecided is above 30%, which is stratospherically high at this point in the campaign.
The most important figure of these key points, in my opinion, is the last, since according to the electoral roll, a percentage of 30.6% in the undecided category means in absolute terms that more than 1.7 million potential voters will make up their minds between Monday and Sunday whether or not they will put a vote in a ballot box and what party list they will opt for. I don't remember any election with such a high forecast of voters who are either undecided or take refuge in this position so as not to reveal who they plan to vote for. And if, for example, we make a comparison with the 2017 elections, we see that six days before voting, this category was about ten points smaller, hovering at around 20%.
We shall see how much work can be done, not only by the three candidates with most options - Laura Borràs, Pere Aragonès and Salvador Illa - but also by the top guns of their respective political formations: Carles Puigdemont, Oriol Junqueras and Pedro Sánchez, with the clear and obligatory task of claiming as many of those undecided voters as possible who could be theirs and getting them to vote for their candidates for the presidency of Catalonia. In this is the mother of all electoral battles, along with the TV3 debate to be broadcast this Tuesday and which, despite the large number of candidates who are required to be invited, should provide some material for demographic analysts. The nine-participant format obviously diminishes the power of a major debate effect, but the details always end up being important when there is such a large number of undecided.
Beyond the final fight for victory, which is more than likely to continue until Sunday itself, there are three more facts I would like to comment on. The strength that the CUP (Popular Unity Candidature) is showing, at least in the Feedback poll for El Nacional.cat, which is predicted to rise from its current four seats to ten or eleven, looking as though the electorate that punished it in 2017 could be forgiving the party and returning it to the results it achieved in 2015. The new CUP MPs would largely mean that JxCat and ERC would lose deputies and thus give the anti-capitalist party - if the prognosis is confirmed, since polls almost always overstate the CUP - a more important role in many decisions than they have had in the last three years. Secondly is the collapse of the PP (Popular Party): not only is it likely to finish at the tail end of the parliamentary race, but such a poor result would act as a boomerang for Pablo Casado. That, together with - and here comes the third observation - the fact that Vox would be clearly ahead of them would be a real problem for the PP leadership. All eyes would be on the Galician president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo.
In short: it may be cliché of election campaigns, but the days still ahead in this Catalan campaign will be truly decisive. Getting it right in this final stretch is, on this occasion, more important than just avoiding mistakes, as the inertia that is always practiced by those in the lead may not be enough given the number of undecided people out there. We must be very attentive to what comes to us from outside Spain, and the polls that become known as the current electoral law prevents the publication of any new polls from midnight on Tuesday. Another anomaly in a world as global and digital as the one we live in.