The 2015 Catalan Election: The Independence Bid at the Polls Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2016

start page

  • 359

end page

  • 381


  • 3


  • 21

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1360-8746

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-9612


  • This paper examines the context, campaign and main determinants of how Catalans voted in the 2015 regional election. The elections were exceptional because the incumbent and the remaining Catalan nationalist parties framed the contest as a de facto referendum on secession. In this paper we scrutinise whether attitudes towards independence affected vote choice and whether they eclipsed other traditional significant vote-driving factors such as the state of the economy or government performance. Results show that, although the independence issue became a major determinant of vote choice, the elections did not become a pure plebiscite on secession, since voters also used their vote to hold the regional government accountable for its past performance.


  • catalan referendum; catalan independence; nationalism; regional parties; secessionism; regional election; political context; european election; economic-crisis; catalonia; spain