Bookmakers consistent over outcome of EU referendum

WHILE the polls have varied wildly, bookmakers have been steadfastly consistent over the outcome of the EU referendum in Britain.

They have had the Remain camp an odds-on favourite since February, when David Cameron set the June 23 voting date.

And over the past week they have shortened their odds dramatically, going from 4-6 (implying a 60% chance of winning) to as much as 2-9 (82% chance).

In the past 10 days the polls have swayed between a 10-point Brexit lead and a two-point lead for Remain.

This raises the question - in politics, who should you trust more: a sensible, clipboard-wielding pollster or a bookmaker?

Recent form suggests the bookies. They got the Scottish referendum right when some polls suggested a Yes vote, and in the 2015 general election they consistently made the Tories the largest party, even when some polls suggested a Labour victory.

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.

This means it may be of more than passing significance that bookies are now telling The Independent they are very confident of a Remain vote and may even make the "In" camp an even stronger favourite.