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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Who is going to win?

It's a mugs game to try and call popular votes. Everyone is wise after the event but nobody has a magical prediction machine. I've really no more idea than the next person as to where we will stand on Friday.  Unlike the 1975 referendum which was a shoo-in for Remain it could go either way. Two months ago I was confident that Remain would win. Two weeks ago I was much more pessimistic. A week ago I thought the game was over and Leave would shade it.  

The polling evidence is not clear cut. My colleague Steve Fisher, who did the least worst job at the last General Election, has Remain slightly ahead in his model based forecast but the confidence intervals are so wide that Leave can't be sensibly excluded. The message from the financial and currency markets  now seems to favour Remain, but the signal is weak and there is still a lot of volatility. The betting odds heavily favour Remain. At the moment you can get between 2/9 and 2/7  on Remain  in other words roughly an 80% chance of staying and between 3/1 and 11/4 on Leave - about a 25% chance of quitting.

One of my colleagues put a sizeable sum on Remain at very good odds more than a year ago.  He may be feeling a bit nervous right now, but if you are a betting man you have to trust the odds. I'm not a betting man, but I do tend to put more weight on what people do rather than on what people say so my best guess is that Remain will win and since I'm now well down the path to getting egg on my face I may as well venture a guess at the winning margin. Let's say 4%.

And if I'm wrong, well, all bets will be off and we'll wake up on Friday in a rather different world. Will everything be utterly changed? No. Will the UK be a somewhat more unpleasant place to live in ? Probably yes. If we leave the EU and Scotland votes for independence I'll be joining the queue for a Scottish passport.

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