The headlines are blaring that 80% of Catalonians just voted for independence from Spain, but the real story is essentially the opposite. Consider these facts:
1. Only about 37% of the 5.4 million registered voters (less than 4 in 10) actually participated in the non-binding referendum. That’s not even 37% of the whole population, but just registered voters.
2. 80% of 37% is roughly 30%. That proportion is even lower (about 21%) when non-voters are factored in to the population count of the region (7.5 million).
3. This referendum was organized and run by over 40,000 pro-independence volunteers after Spain’s high court ruled an official referendum unconstitutional.
(Data Source: BBC)
A ballot campaign orchestrated, organized, staffed by, and managed from start to finish by one side is hardly a recipe for a representative vote. (For all we know, they discouraged turnout in anti-independence areas or made it harder to vote.) And even with all that going for them, they still only managed to get 30% of the voters to back them up.
They got the headline they wanted, but the underlying result is clear: Most Catalonians are not interested in the independence agenda being pushed by hardliners or the wealthy who want to “Go Galt” and stop paying taxes to support their less fortunate regional neighbors in the rest of Spain.