Though it was essentially nothing more than an online poll, the Venetian independence movement has now become an international headline, with first Italian media, then Russian media and now US publications asking whether Veneto will be the next region to succumb to separatist sentiment.
Although the online plebiscite is raising more publicity than its promoters could have possibly hoped, it’s still just an unofficial, Internet-based poll. So when you see headlines that scream that 89% of Venetians are voting for independence from mainland Italy, keep in mind that it’s more a stunt than an actual referendum.
Plebiscite 2013, a Venetist group, conducted the referendum between March 16 and 21, and it claims that 2.36 million Venetians voted in the online poll for full independence from Italy, fully 89.1% of the voters who participated. There are good reasons to doubt whether those numbers are accurate — Il Corriere del Veneto today reports that, following an analysis of the web traffic data, the real total is something more like 135,000, and among those voters, there are more votes from Chile than from Padua, one of the region’s largest cities. While you should take the Venetist movement increasingly seriously, the March online poll is not the most credible evidence. Continue reading No, Venice isn’t about to break away from the rest of Italy