Yet another poll picks the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) as the winner of February 14th's Catalan elections. However, the latest survey from the Catalan public polling agency, the CEO, suggests that Together for Catalonia (JxCat) have narrowed the gap with their pro-independence colleagues in the last month.
According to the study, Oriol Junqueras's ERC will win the Valentine's Day elections with 35 deputies and JxCat should get between 30 and 32. Thus, the Carles Puigdemont-led party is drawing closer, since the last CEO poll in November forecast that ERC would win between 36 and 37 seats with JxCat on 28-30.
Neither the jailed Junqueras nor exiled Puigdemont will be standing as their respective parties' candidate for the Catalan presidency, which on the evidence of the CEO poll, could fall to ERC's Pere Aragonès with JxCat's Laura Borràs as the main rival.
Third place in the election is expected to go to the Catalan Socialists (PSC) led by Miquel Iceta, who are forecast to take 25 seats. In comparison to the current seats these parties hold - as determined by the elections of December 21st, 2017 - the new CEO poll would see ERC win three more deputies, JxCat would lose two, while the PSC would win eight (it currently has 17).
Ciudadanos, still in free fall
Ciudadanos (Cs) is the party set to lose most seats compared to the 2017 elections. According to the CEO, Carlos Carrizosa's party would take 14 to 16 seats; 20 fewer than the 36 it has now.
As for the other pro-Spanish unity parties, the Catalan Popular Party (PP) would see its popularity rise, to take between seven and nine seats, five more than it has now, and far-right Vox would enter the Catalan chamber for the first time with four to six representatives. Former Cs votes go particularly towards these two parties as well as to the PSC.
Podemos allies Catalunya en Comú (Comuns) are predicted to obtain 7-9 representatives in the Catalan house, little change from their current figure of 8, while the pro-independence Catalan European Democrat Party (PDeCat) - the rump left behind after most of their members switched to JxCat - could win one seat. And the CUP, which will be led by former Badalona mayor Dolors Sabater, should double its 2017 result and rise from 4 deputies to between 8 and 9.
Independence to break the 50% barrier
In the 135 seat Catalan Parliament, the current majority held by the pro-independence would increase. A bare majority would be 68 seats; currently the figure is 70; and today's poll predicts it will rise to between 73 and 77 seats - taking in the deputies won by ERC, JxCat, CUP and PDeCAT. The "sovereignest" parties - that is, counting the Comuns, would rise to 80-88 seats. The pro-Spain unionist bloc - PSC, Cs, PP and Vox - would take between 36 and 40 seats in Parliament.
And in addition, for the first time, voters for pro-independence parties would exceed 50% of the total ballots, something that has never happened so far, and was not predicted in the November CEO poll although other surveys have raised it as a possibility. The sum of the percentages of total votes expected to go to ERC, JxCat, CUP and PDeCAT would reach 50.9%, with the unionist bloc - PSC, Cs, PP and Vox - totalling 40.7%, and most of the difference being made by the non-aligned Comuns at 6.9%.