With Roberto Pannico we have been exploring the consequences of party system change at the individual level. The irruption of Podemos and Ciudadanos as new parties in 2014 and 2015 allows to assess to what extent the citizens that developped a partisan attachment to these new parties changed their attitudes compared with those that did not. We use a DiD panel data model to assess to what extent partisanship with new parties changed political interest, trust in political institutions and intensity of party closeness, as a fling with a new party could do, compared to ramaining attached to your old party couple.
We find that the consequences of becoming a partisan of a new party are different depending on weather citizens had or not a previous attachment to an old party. New parties have a “fling” effect increasing political interest among those that were not close to any party before, and increasing the intensity of party closeness among those that came from an old party. But they also have a surprisingly strong “old married couple” effect among those that have remained loyal to their old party, increasing their trust in political institutions.
If you want to know more we are presenting some preliminary findings Monday 28th May at 1pm at our DEC seminar (Sala de Juntes, Fac. de Ciències Polítiques i Sociologia).
The first significant outcome of the election is that Ciutadans is today the most voted party in Catalonia. Ciutadans is a Spanish nationalist party located in the centre-right that defends the current constitution and status quo against independence. Led by Inés Arrimadas it has increased 7 percentage points with respect to 2015 and now gathers 27% of the valid votes and 37 seats. This confirms that the Catalan electorate is becoming increasingly polarized along the national conflict.
The second significant outcome of the election is that pro-independence parties maintain 48% of the vote, which due to the electoral system (with a strong under-representation of Barcelona, the district with lowest support for Independence) allows them to get a majority of seats (70 over 135). This support for pro-independence parties (JxC, ERC or CUP) has been very stable along time and has not vanished in spite of the many questionable things the former pro-independence government has done. The increase in participation (to an all time record of 82%) has not altered the fact that a bit less of half of Catalan voters choose a pro-independence party. Everyone needs to accept that this large level of support for independence from Spain is there no matter what.
The division of support between the two blocks remains stable and strongly conditioned by language and origin. The changes compared to 2015 have to do with movements within these blocks. Among the pro-independence block, Junts per Catalunya (list led and designed by former president Puigdemont now in Brussels and including Jordi Sanchez -former leader of the ANC now in preventive prison- and many candidates from PDeCAT, formerly CiU) unexpectedly wins 34 seats, more than the 32 that go to Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (led by former vice-president Junqueras, currently in jail). JxC has capitalized the application of article 155, highly unpopular in Catalunya. The CUP, a radical left party advocating for the unilateral way to independence, has suffered a severe loss from 10 to 4 seats. One of the readings of this result is that socially-conservative independentists have won the competition within the pro-independence block, which is of course very bad news for the left in general. A transversal left coalition (including all left parties) would have been extremely difficult even if the numbers made it possible, but it is mathematically impossible with this result.
Among the block of parties that are against independence from Spain the support has concentrated in Ciutadans. Here also the right wins, even if the Popular Party is heavily damaged by the suspension of self-government institutions implemented by Rajoy, keeping only 3 of the 11 seats it had in 2015. This will be interpreted with a Spanish perspective: until now the PP has electorally benefited in Spain from n