Esquerra (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya (JuntsXCat), the pro-independence parties led by Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont respectively, are pulling very close to the Unionist party Ciutadans (Cs).

However, the Cs, led by Inés Arrimadas, continues to narrowly lead the party rankings when the Catalan vote is just three days away, according to the third tracking poll from Feedback for the Catalan election, published in a WORLD EXCLUSIVE by The National.

The National:

The National is publishing an updated poll every day and two on Wednesday, the date before the vote. The sample is based on 1,000 interviews. Data collection for this third installment was completed on Sunday at 4pm. The first tracking poll had been published on Saturday and the second on Sunday.

A three-way tie has now emerged at the head of the Catalan election race and the pro-independence parties have made some gains. Cs remains as the leading force but slips slightly: from 32-33 seats to 31-33, and from 24.06% of the estimated vote to 23.96%. By contrast, ERC, the list led by jailed Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, gains in both seats and voting percentage: from 30-31 to 30-32 MPs and from 20.73% to 21.11% of votes. The expectations of the Junts x Cat list, headed from exile in Brussels by Catalan president Carles Puigdemont are also on the rise: from 27-29 to 28-29 seats and 19.48% of the estimated votes (18.99% in the previous poll).

Fourth place continues to be held by the socialists of the PSC, led by Miquel Iceta, who have lost some ground: from 19-20 seats to 18-20 (14.11% of the vote).

They are followed by the CUP, the radical left-wing pro-independence party which has supported the Puigdemont-Junqueras government since 2015.

In this latest poll, the CUP's upward trend has stopped, and they fall from a solid 10 to a bracket of 9-10 seats and will win 8.05% of the estimated vote. A similar story applies to Catalunya En Comú-Podem, the left-wing force that favours an independence referendum but not independence itself: it holds its predicted 8-9 MPS but slips to its worst percentage of the vote so far: 6.82%.

The Partido Popular, the party of Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who has reinforced his presence in the campaign, remains in last place, although the party shows a slight upward trend, expected to win 5-7 seats and 5.65% of the vote.

This third tracking poll from Feedback published by The National predicts that the overall independence block consisting of ERC, Junts x Cat and the CUP will win between 67 and 71 seats in the Catalan Parliament, with 48.64% of the total votes - they thus have an absolute parliamentary majority within their grasp, for which they need to win 68 seats. On the other hand, the unionist parties - summing the results of the Cs, PSC and PP - remain at a considerable distance from the same goal themselves, with a predicted haul of 54-60 seats and 43.72%, almost 5 percentage points less than the pro-independence parties.

The turnout for Thursday's election is predicted to be historic and the forecast figure has once again risen, to reach an expected participation of 83.13% of registered voters. In the 2015 election, when the current turnout record was set, the figure was 74.95%.