This election marked a change for all Catalan political parties due to Catalan PresidentJordi Pujol's decision not to seek a seventh term in office and to retire from active politics. The election results were a great disappointment for Pasqual Maragall's Socialists' Party of Catalonia, which again saw Convergence and Union winning a plurality of seats despite them winning the most votes by a margin of just 0.3%. Opinion polls earlier in the year had predicted a much larger victory for Maragall, but his lead over CiU had begun to narrow as the election grew nearer. ERC was the perceived true victor of the election, doubling its 1999 figures and scoring the best results in its recent history, both in terms of seats (23 of 135) and votes (16.4%), up from 11 seats and 8.7%.
The retirement of Jordi Pujol as CiU candidate paved the way for Artur Mas, then Chief Counsellor (Conseller en cap, akin to a Vice-president; he was known colloquially as the Dauphin), as the culmination of a long successory process.
In 1999, because of the PSC growth, Convergence and Union had lost the vote share for the first time, but had won the most seats due to the disproportionate allocation of seats in Girona, Lleida and Tarragona respect to Barcelona. Thanks to the support of the PPC, Pujol had been able to be re-elected to a sixth term in office. In spite of this, and despite Pujol's approval ratings remaining high, rumours about his possible retirement and a desire for change had resulted in CiU trailing the PSC in opinion polls for the entire legislature, with a lead nearly into the double digits by mid-to-late 2001. From mid-2003, however, the Socialist lead had begun to narrow to the point that speculation arose about a possible reenactment of the 1999 results.
ERC was in almost constant growth since the 1988 election, and had become a political force able to break through the dominant two-party system in Catalonia.
Deputies are elected in four electoral districts: 85 in Barcelona, 17 in Girona, 15 in Lleida and 18 in Tarragona. In each district, seats are allocated to parties obtaining at least 3% of the votes in that district using the D'Hondt method.
Poll results are listed in the table below in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first, and using the date the survey's fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. If such date is unknown, the date of publication is given instead. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed in bold, and the background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. The lead column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the two parties with the highest figures. When a specific poll does not show a data figure for a party, the party's cell corresponding to that poll is shown empty.
Opinion polls showing seat projections are displayed in the table below. The highest seat figures in each polling survey have their background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. 68 seats are required for an absolute majority in the Parliament of Catalonia.
^ abcdefThis poll provides data ranges, approximations and/or various electoral scenario hypotheses calculated using similar weighting parameters. In order to simplify, the average of these data is given.