Remain odds keep shortening as bookies hold firm on predictions
Published 22/06/2016 | 02:30
While the polls have varied wildly, one group of people have been steadfastly consistent over the outcome of the EU referendum: the bookies. They have made the Remain camp the odds-on favourite since February when David Cameron set the 23 June date for the vote. And over the last week, they have shortened their odds dramatically, going from 4-6 (implying a 60pc chance of winning), to as much 2/9 with an 82pc chance of victory - while in the past 10 days the polls have swayed between a 10-point Brexit lead and a narrow two-point margin in favour of Remain.
Which leaves punters, politicians and the public alike with the $64m question: in politics, who should you trust more: a sensible, clipboard-wielding pollster or a bookie?
Recent form suggests the bookies. They got the Scottish referendum right when some polls suggested a Yes vote, and in the 2015 election they consistently made the Tories the largest party, even when some polls suggested a Labour win.
And although they took a hammering from those who bet on an outright Conservative majority, the bookies did at least shorten the odds in the days immediately before voting. Which means it may be of more than passing significance that bookies are now saying they are very confident of a Remain vote and may even make the In camp still stronger favourites in the final run-up to the vote.
Marcus Goddard, the head of political trading at Betfred, said: "It is massively likely we are going to get a vote to remain, because of the weight of money being bet. "I [personally] would make it 80 to 90pc that we will remain, as opposed to a 50-50 split with the polls.
"It won't be by a huge margin - by 55 to 45 per cent - but the vote will be for Remain. And possibly over the next couple of days the Remain odds will shorten even further."