Catalunya ... A win on a turnout of 52.4%

It's slightly annoying that the full results of the independence referenda held yesterday in Catalunya haven't yet been announced. But we do have 94.04% of the result, and from that I think it's possible to be accurate to within about a hundred votes by projecting the percentages we already know.

Electorate ... 696,883
Turnout ... 190,360 (27.316%)

Void votes ... (0.34% of 190,360) = 647
Valid votes ... (99.66% of 190,360) = 189,713

Yes ... (95.21% of 189,713) = 180,620
No ... (3.22% of 189,713) = 6,110
Abstain ... (1.57% of 189,713) = 2,983

Now I'll be the first to admit that 180,000 Yes votes is somewhat short of the 250,000 that I said would be necessary to claim a convincing victory. But it is in fact by no means a defeat, because everything would depend on the turnout in an official poll.

The best way of thinking about it is to ask: How many people would need to turn out and vote No in order to defeat the referendum? The answer to that is 174,511 in addition to the 6,110 that actually did vote No. But if only 174,509 had turned out to vote No the referendum would have been won with these figures:

Yes ... (95.21% of 189,713) = 180,620
No ... (3.22% of 189,713) = 6,110 plus 174,509 = 180,619
Abstain ... (1.57% of 189,713) = 2,983

Total valid vote ... 364,222
Assumed void vote ... (0.34% of 364,222) = 1,239

Turnout ... 365,461 = 52.4% of 696,883

In other words, with the same number of Yes votes, a full, official referendum would have been won if the turnout was 52.4% or below.

Now of course 52.4% isn't a particularly splendid turnout. But it is in fact higher than the turnout for the European Parliament elections in June 2009 (46.0% for Spain as a whole) and for the referendum on the Catalan Statute of Autonomy in 2006 (48.85%). It is also very close to the turnout of 56.77% in the Catalan Parliament election in November 2006.

And, for the sake of a rather similar international comparison, it is worth remembering that we narrowly won the 1997 referendum to establish our Senedd with a turnout of just 50.1%


In short, there is every reason to be very positive about the result. We need to remember that this was a set of referenda run on an entirely voluntary basis, with no public funding and no use of public facilities. Yet it seems to have been done with professional standards of fairness, security and transparency, as I'm sure will be confirmed by the international observers who were there.

Perhaps the biggest question now is what the response will be, not just from the Spanish authorities, but from the political parties in Catalunya itself. The debate has now moved on from the previous level of arguing an appropriate level of autonomy to one in which independence is now right at the heart of the Catalan political agenda. The Catalunian parties will now need to come clean on what their position on independence is, and this should result in realignments and new alliances adding organized political force to popular pressure.

On top of that, many more independence referenda are due to be held next year, including one in Barcelona itself. The pressure is building. To use my analogy from my post on Saturday, the dam is cracked and water is streaming through. I'm disappointed that the dam didn't burst completely ... but it will.

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A Change of Personnel said...

just wanted to say that the posts on Catalunya have been interesting like most of what you blog about.

As others have said it would be nice if the Welsh Media was able to cover issues affecting Wales in their broadest sense, for example were only getting little bits on the First Minister and Environment Minister in Copenhagen at the Climate Change from BBC Wales instead of a Welsh angle.

Anonymous said...

article by David Williams in Western Mail this morning ... at last!

BBC UK are still way better than BBC Wales. Why bother having a BBC Cymru Wales at all?

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