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Hungry for independence? Pollster bypasses Catalan election ban by using food survey

With media in Spain banned from publishing polls in the week before the elections in Catalonia, researchers have apparently found a way round the restrictions by asking Catalans whether they want to dine alone or at a group table.

Regional elections – which are expected to define the potential future of Catalan independence – are being held on Thursday. In the run-up, it hasn’t been clear if pro- or anti-independence parties will gain a majority, as Spanish law strictly prohibits publishing any polls a week before voting day. But one polling company came up with a novel solution, deciding to set up a special restaurant during the election preamble.

The Electograph analytics company, based in Spain, announced it had opened a restaurant at a "beloved" greengrocer in Andorra. Reservations for "Christmas lunches and dinners" had been opened for 135 diners, the company said, promising to report on "what each of them eats."

Carrot and eggplant dishes were on the menu, as well as pepperoni pizza and chocolate. Each food item apparently represented a certain party, and the number of orders predicted support either for pro-independence or pro-Spanish unity coalitions.

READ MORE: Separatists & unionists face off in election that could decide Catalonia’s future

The elections in Catalonia were called by the Spanish prime minister in late October, after Madrid dissolved the region's government and imposed direct rule following the unrecognized declaration of independence. The region's deposed president, Carles Puigdemont, has called the current vote a repetition of the referendum. "We know that December 21 is the second round of October 1. And therefore what is at stake is enormous. In fact, what is at stake is everything – this is why I ask for your vote," he said.

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