Roy Fletcher’s Blog, Episode 7: Let’s Pick the Winner

(Publisher’s note: This entry was written BEFORE Thursday’s BREXIT vote. We apologize to you and to Roy for its late publication)




On Thursday, British voters will decide to remain in European Union or leave this transnational body.  While across the pond, it seems like fun to offer a guess of who will win or lose.

As I have noted, public opinion surveys in Britain are an iffy mess.  These polls missed badly in the most recent parliamentary elections.  But, if the polls are in any way correct, the election is dead even; a pick-it in gamblers’ lingo.  As we approach tomorrow’s election, the public opinion surveys, depending if on-line or phone surveys, produce somewhat different results; the on-line internet numbers seem to favor a Leave victory while phone surveys tend to favor a Remain victory.

One thing does seem to be consistent; the lower the turnout seems to favor the more energized Leave position.  The Leave folks seemed to be quite fired up.  Internet analysis suggests Leave receives more than 2 to 1 mentions.  Although it cannot be determined if these mentions are favorable or unfavorable to Leave, the most recent phone survey done in Wednesday suggests an answer.  When likely voters are considered, Leave has a 4 point uptick in the vote.  That is, a 3 point lead for Leave suddenly turns into a 7 point lead.  Thus, the more the voter turnout is dominated by likely voters (as opposed to less likely voters) the Leave campaign has a better chance of winning.

Interestingly, because polling has been so notoriously incorrect in Britain, many pundits watch the wager pools to forecast election incomes.  In short, follow the money.

The wager pools have gone almost directly opposite than the public opinion surveys.  Remain enjoys a healthy almost 2 to 1 lead; the money is forecasting a Remain victory.

Watching this activity last evening, Leave fell from a 40% chance of victory to a 26% chance in several hours; yes, the British press reports wager pools almost in real time it seems.

Yet, there is a caveat to this wager pool direction.  Remain voters are more affluent.  They bet more money in one bet than most Leave voters bet in 5 bets.  So, the wager pools are picking up the total amount of money bet and not the frequency of the position bet.  In short, the big money is headed with Remain and the small money with Leave; exactly how the election looks.

Given all of this, the election will be close.  It will be very close.  With this obvious statement, I think LEAVE will be the winner by around 3% points.  Again, this is from across the pond so I wouldn’t bet on it….I’m not!

More to come….

~Roy Fletcher