Poll shows Catalans evenly divided over independence

A Catalan government opinion poll says people in the northeastern region are evenly divided over whether the territory should split from Spain.

The Opinion Studies Center poll released Friday said 45.5 percent of those quizzed reject independence while 45.3 percent favor it. The remaining 9.2 percent did not know or did not answer.

The survey interviewed 1,500 people Feb. 22-March 8 and has a margin of error of 2.5 percent.

Pro-independence groups won most seats in September regional elections but failed to get a majority of the popular vote. The pro-independence government acknowledges it lacks sufficient support to declare independence but says it intends to continue with secession preparations.

Spain's government has ruled out secession.

Catalonia, whose capital is Barcelona, represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1-trillion euro ($1.2 trillion) GDP.