Two polls putting Leave well clear of Remain – five points according to yesterday’s Guardian/ICM poll, seven points according to a Times/YouGov poll – have seen bookies slash their odds on Brexit, implying that it’s more likely than ever before – as shown by the chart above. A few weeks ago, the betting markets thought there was an 18 per cent chance of Leave: now it’s 41 per cent. This does mean the markets think Remain is the more likely outcome, due to the status quo effect: Whatever people tell pollsters, they tend to stick to the devil they know in referenda.
The above chart is calculated by taking an average of all bookies’ odds, which (at time of writing) imply a 41 per cent chance of a vote to Leave. The previous high was 36 per cent in December 2015, after an ICM poll for Vote Leave found that backing for both campaigns was evenly matched.
It may not be long before Leave takes the lead: William Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe says ‘the momentum is such that it seems inevitable Brexit will be favourite by the weekend if this trend continues’. As Isabel says: no wonder they’re looking comfortable.
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