Will the Commonwealth Games boost the YES indyref vote?

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The latest Independence Referendum polls have been fairly steady. In terms of the betting markets, not much has changed either, but I think we are definitely seeing an increase in money for YES. A customer in one of our shops in Edinburgh had £2,500 at 9/2 today and we’ve seen plenty of smaller bets over the weekend as well. NO backers have been harder to find recently.

Is this the Commonwealth Games effect? I think it might well be. We haven’t had any polls with fieldwork since the games started yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a modest uptick in the YES numbers in forthcoming surveys.

Normally, I don’t think you’d expect the effect of such an event to be very big, or long lived. On the other hand, if it were followed by a debate win for Salmond v Darling on August 5th, perhaps we could start to see some real movement. It would certainly be interesting if one of the pollsters produced a lead for independence – I could imagine there being a huge betting move towards YES. After all, as John Curtice reports, 56% of YES supporters already believe they are going to win, even though current polling wouldn’t give them much cause for that optimism.

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Although a NO vote would be more profitable outcome for Ladbrokes at the moment, we’re hoping that the polls get a bit closer, as that is bound to stimulate turnover. This has already been a huge betting heat, and could break all sorts of records if the result is in doubt going into the final weeks. Personally, I’ve had a little bit of money on YES today, as I think there is a lot of scope for the odds to shorten in the next week or two.

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Matthew Shaddick

Matthew Shaddick has been Head of Poliical Betting at Ladbrokes since 2008. He's a writer and odds-maker with particular expertise in UK and US elections. Also known to dabble in music, literary and other out of the way betting markets. Sometimes issues tips on horse racing and football, which are best ignored.