Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


The Scottish IndyRef totally dominates current political betting activity with virtually no interest in the May 22 Euros

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Do punters think that May 22 is not very important?

One of the great things about the Betfair exchange is the amount of data that’s available on each of its markets.

The chart above is of the total amount of matched bets in £ on the current live UK election markets. As can be seen both the GE 2015 markets, which have been up for nearly four years, attract a lot of interest but not on the scale of the September 18th referendum in Scotland when the nation’s future will be decided.

If the Indy Ref polling continues to get closer I can see the total amounts bet jumping into the millions making it, by far, the biggest political betting event outside the general election and the White House race.

This really does suggest that the people of Scotland, where I am at the moment, are taking a huge interest in September’s vote. Their future is at stake.

    What I find really surprising is the comparative lack of interest in the May 22nd Euro elections. Given that there’s a possibility that the purples could come out on top I’d have expected to see much more betting interest.

There are, of course, many other places to bet but we don’t get information like that published and constantly updated by Betfair. Inthe past these numbers have proved to be a good pointer to overall betting interest.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY. The next Dirty Dicks (opposite Liverpool Street station in London) gathering will be at 6.30pm on Friday May 2. An event for Yorkshire and the north is planned for Ilkley on Monday July 7th

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


Are we really only five months away from Dave’s resignation?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Benedict Brogan wrote the other day

David Cameron will resign if he loses Scotland. A Prime Minister who allows the break-up of the United Kingdom cannot suffer such a statement of no confidence and continue in office.

That much is understood in Downing Street, where a gnawing doubt about the referendum gets worse by the day. The vote takes place in five months this Friday. Angst rather than panic describes the feeling apparent among those involved – but is it just a momentary loss of nerve, or a dawning realisation that something is seriously wrong?

That’s a pretty sensational revelation. I have my doubts, but iff Brogan is right, then it maybe worth reviewing the next Prime Minister market. If Cameron does resign in the wake of a Yes vote, then I think the next Tory leader (and ergo next Prime Minister) will come from the following four.

William Hague – I’ve always viewed him as the if Dave ever fell under a bus candidate. Will he want it? I suspect he may not, but in the scenario of Scotland seceding from the Union, he may.

Theresa May – Who has been quietly impressive at the Home Office, which had turned into a political graveyard for others, as a result, the bookies make it between her and Boris as favourites for the next Tory leader. (As an aside, given the scenario outlined above, I can’t see Boris being able to run in this leadership election)

George Osborne – Two years ago following the omnishambles budget, I would have thought Larry the Cat had a better chance at being next Tory Leader than George. But times change, his personal ratings and the economy have improved, as well at the Tory polling in the aftermath of the budget, it is not as outlandish as it seemed a few years ago.

Philip Hammond – If UKIP maintains or improves on its current polling, then some Tories will conclude their best chance of getting back those Con to UKIP switchers, is to back one of the two Tory cabinet ministers who would vote to leave the EU. (The other Michael Gove, I suspect will be on team Osborne.) Hammond like Theresa May has impressed quietly. That said, he was accused of undermining the No campaign earlier on this week.

Looking at the odds on the next Prime Minster, I’ve backed the above four, they are in some way, proxies for a Yes vote, and at odds of 16/1 and higher, they in my opinion represent better value than the 11/4 you can get on Yes winning in September if Brogan is right.

Odds on the next Prime Minister (as at midnight)




The money goes on Scotland voting for independence and YES reaches its highest point on Betfair

Monday, April 7th, 2014

YES remains the value bet

There’s been quite a rush of money going on YES for the Scottish IndyRef over the past few days so much so that the price on the Betfair exchange is quite a lot tighter.

When I recomended three weeks ago that YES was the value bet the price on Betfair represented an 18% chance. This morning the this moved to a 24.4% chance although it has eased a touch since.

My reading is that this will get tighter as we get close to the September date.

Next week I’m off to Edinburgh once again for a session with researchers at the Scottish Parliament. On my last visit, in February 2013, I was asked to make a prediction and said it would get very tight with a gap within 5%. Well that is almost there.

Hopefully I’ll get a better picture of opinion north of the border during my trip.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The way opinion is moving in Scotland the value IndyRef bet is now on YES

Friday, March 21st, 2014

The betting seems to be lagging behind the polls

This morning I made my first serious Scottish IndyRef bets and my money went on YES.

This is not a prediction but my assessment of how I think the betting will move in the coming weeks and months.

There has been a clear tightening in the polls and if this continues I can see the YES price moving in with NO moving out. The prices, seen in the chart, are quite generous and my guess is that they will move.

Note The betting percentages don’t add up to 100 because they are based on actual trades.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


The first Indyref conducted after Osborne’s intervention is out

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

And it’s great news for the Supporters of Yes as No’s lead slumps from 20% to 9% with Survation.

As Mike correctly forecast the Edinburgh confrontation over the currency might be just what the YES campaign wants, as Yes goes up 6% and no goes down 5%, the changes are from the Survation poll carried out at the end of January. (Note the reason why the changes don’t net off to zero is because of rounding)

The fieldwork was Monday and Tuesday of this week, so post George Osborne’s currency union and Jose Manuel Barroso’s EU intervention (The sample size was 1,005)

My one caveat on this poll is that the fieldwork was conducted during and in the immediate aftermath of Alex Salmond’s speech that was a response to George Osborne’s intervention, that may have influenced the responses, particularly given Alex Salmond’s positive ratings amongst Scottish voters.

Which is one of the reasons I’ve been backing Yes for quite some time.

If it is a case of a higher visibility of  Alex Salmond gives Yes a boost, then given he’s going to be featuring a lot in the Independence Referendum campaign, then Better Together are going to have major problems during the campaign to stop a big swing to Yes during the campaign, as No don’t have anyone with the nous or talent to match Alex Salmond.


It would appear Survation has changed its methodology and this latest one is not comparable with the January survey which was turnout weighted to 2010 Westminster VI.


Survation have published a note about their methodology.

They say the effect of changing the weighting appears to account for approximately 6.5 of the 10.8 points of apparent reduction in the “No” lead compared with the previous Survation poll.

So swing like for like was 2.15% from No to Yes, which is half the 5.5% swing the initial headline figures suggested.

Backing Yes at 7/2 represents value.

But this is just one poll, we need more polls to confirm whether this is a trend or just a one off. I’m hoping to see more IndyRef polling in the next few days.

TNS POLL – Fieldwork ended 6th of Feb

There’s another poll out, this is by TNS, the field work ended on the 6th of February, so long before the Westminster Currency Union intervention.

The headline figure shows no change from their last poll conducted at the end of the January, which sees a lead of 13% for No, but when certainty to vote is taken account, the lead is 9%, down from 17% last month, which fits in with my expectation there may differential turnout in the referendum and that will boost the yes side, the general trend since September will also give joy to the Yes Side, as Yes voters are more likely to vote than No voters, by 84% to 73%

The other interesting finding from this poll. One of the reasons that has always favoured No is that women are overwhelming in favour of remaining in the Union, this poll found that Men are more likely than women to say they are certain to vote (71% vs 67%), so this other differential turnout may negate the gender gap.

The full data tables for TNS are available here. 



Another poll finds the #IndyRef gap closing in Scotland but whoever the client was has so far sat on it

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014


PB reveals the mystery YouGov referendum survey

The big Scottish #IndyRef story over the past week had been the closing of the gap between those wanting independence and those opposed.

First was the ICM poll for Scotland on Sunday which was followed by TNS BMRB. Now another poll has emerged which also shows the same broad trend.

It’s from YouGov and the only information we have is from a summary PDF from the pollster featured above.

We have no idea who paid for this and why the results have not been published even though it is now a week old. Normally data doesn’t go onto YouGov’s summary tracker tables until the poll has come out officially.

In the past the No campaign - Better Together – has commssioned YouGov. Was it the client with this poll?

Whatever the numbers support the big trend that YES is making progress something that should worry those campaigning to retain Scotland in the UK.

Maybe this will all become clearer during the day but it is highly unusual for a poll like this to have, apparently, been withheld.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


All the weekend polls: Round up

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Westminster voting intentions – LAB pretty solid

TNS reports YES moving forward for Scottish IndyRef


Scottish independence: The electoral mathematics would look a lot less daunting for the Tories

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Time to send George/Dave on lots of trips north?

At GE2010 Labour won 41 of the 59 Scottish seats while the Tories came away with one. So if Scotland gets stripped out of the equation then achieving an overall majority because a much easier task for the blues.

As a rough and ready way of calculating the impact on the current commons seat projection simply deduct 20 from the LAB majority figure.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble