The independence process continues to be perceived by Catalan society as the most polarizing issue, along with the language in common use, although relations between Catalonia and Spain are one of the issues that worry Catalans the least, far below corruption. , crime or climate change, according to the latest survey by the Institut Català Internacional per la Pau (ICIP), presented this Tuesday at a press conference, and whose results together indicate that Catalan society shows symptoms of better coexistence with discrepancy than in recent years.
However, one in five people have been afraid to express their opinions and one in four to participate in a demonstration in the last two years.
The survey, carried out between July 12 and 21 of this year among 2,055 people of legal age, has focused on analyzing the perception of coexistence and security in Catalonia, and dedicates an entire chapter to ideological and emotional polarization, in which it is confirmed, compared to previous years, an increase in positive emotions towards people who think politically differently and in parallel a decrease in negative emotions. Respect, with a score of 5.9 out of 10, is the main emotion expressed in this context, along with indifference (4.8), trust (4.7) and empathy (4.6), and all They surpass sadness (3.7), anger (3.4) and contempt (2.9).
The director of the ICIP, Kristian Herbolzheimer, explained that in general terms "the population manifests attitudes typical of the culture of peace and Catalan society shows symptoms of better coexistence with discrepancy." “That the independence process is perceived as the most divisive issue and at the same time the one that generates the least concern means that in divisive issues like this but also in others we have learned to live together without harming each other, and this is an indicator to highlight,” he said. added.
At the same time, and in a very majority way, citizens agree very or somewhat that everyone can express their opinions (95%), define themselves as conciliatory (89%) and cooperative (85%) and are little tolerant of various situations of daily violence that arise.
However, a part of the population accepts that physical and verbal violence is resorted to on certain occasions. No less than one in five people consider it appropriate to slap a child when he or she misbehaves. And more than half of the people surveyed consider that sometimes, or often, it is necessary to shout to be listened to.
The survey also detects a certain tolerance for structural and cultural violence, related to housing and racism. Almost a quarter of the population strongly or somewhat agrees with kicking out a person who cannot pay the rent, a figure that rises to 72% when it comes to someone who has occupied the home illegally.
Even regarding coexistence, the sample indicates that it is valued more positively in the closest environment. Catalan society values coexistence in its municipality or neighborhood with a 6.4 out of 10, three tenths higher than coexistence in Catalonia, while in Spain as a whole it is 5.6.
One of the data that draws attention from the survey is that Catalans rate their life satisfaction at 6.6 out of 10, which places Catalonia at the bottom of the European Union countries in this indicator, compared to the Eurostat 2021. In Spain as a whole, life satisfaction stands at 7.2, the same figure as in Italy and Germany, while in France it is 6.6. In the high band are Austria (8), Finland (7.9) and Sweden (7.5). Behind Catalonia, only Bulgaria (5.7) and Hungary (6.5).
It is the first time that the ICIP raises this question about life satisfaction and those responsible admit that they will have to address in new studies the reasons why Catalonia offers such a low figure. “Satisfaction responds to many factors. We would have to work more to see the reasons. The standard of living, the economic reasons are not worse than in other surrounding countries, so it would not be a justification. One interpretation may be that in some way there remains a trace of what the process has been, which generated a certain expectation in a part of the population that was not fulfilled and in the other part it may have generated the feeling that they were not wanted. and they were expelled. But it is just an intuition, we will have to go deeper," said Pablo Aguiar, coordinator of the Social and Political Dialogue work area of the ICIP.
In the security section, 28% believe that security in their neighborhood has worsened in the last year, a figure that rises to 55% if you ask them about Catalonia. However, this perception that external security has worsened contrasts with the fact that 76% of the population considers that their level of personal security has remained stable in the last year.
One of the data that most worries ICIP is that in the area of personal security, 18% consider that they belong to a group that is discriminated against, especially based on gender, followed by the use of language and national identity, place of origin and sexual orientation, among others.
Regarding public security policies, respondents opt for educational and training measures, except in cases of corruption, crime and terrorism, in which they are in favor of toughening prison sentences, as well as a police increase to deal with those last two crimes.
Also, in the framework of public security and in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine - the interviews were carried out before the war in Gaza -, 70% of citizens consider that wars are avoidable and negatively value Spain exporting weapons. to other countries, with an average score of 3.5 out of 10.
It is the fifth study published by the ICIP, an entity created by the Parliament in 2007, whose objective is to provide information to raise public opinion about the need to promote a culture of peace and to guide public policies in this direction.