This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Yes it is a fantastic result for us, and what a slap in the face for the Liberal establishment.
I was pretty sure the Leave side would win the Referendum, and was even confident enough to predict it in this forum back in early May in a post I wrote in the "Major new complaint submitted to BBC" thread. I think we could have won by a bigger margin if it wasn't for the Jo Cox murder and the Remain side exploiting that event.
One thing that surprised me about the referendum results is how pro-EU Scotland is. Every regional authority in Scotland voted for Remain and the overall result was 62% Remain, 38% Leave. That confirms a theory of mine that the main driver of Scottish nationalism is anti-English sentiment, rather than a desire for freedom. The Scots don't mind being told what to do by a bunch of foreign overlords, just as long as they're not English overlords.
One note of caution is that there are still plenty of pro-EU MPs around who will do what they can to scupper Brexit. The Lib Dems have already declared that they will stand at the next general election on a platform of derailing Brexit - if elected they would set aside the referendum result and keep Britain in the EU. That position may be taken up by other left-leaning parties as well.
So we've got to hope that the full rigmarole of getting out of the EU has been completed before the next general election. But thanks to the Fixed Term Parliament Act introduced at the request of the Lib Dems, it is tricky, though not impossible, to have a general election before 2020.
Yes a good result. Dave.
But I wondered when you first said it and again today - Why were you "pretty sure" that Leave would prevail?
I'd say your thinking on Scotland is correct. Here in Wales, the same applies to our Nationalists but there are fewer of them.
Basically I just made judgements about which geographical areas in the UK would be likely to vote Leave or Remain. I made no use of opinion polls at all. The region I am most familiar with , North west England, I judged to be likely to vote Leave. Then I assumed that provincial England in general would be similar to NW England. I could see some cities in England voting Remain, and London being even stronger for Remain, as the cities have higher proportions of immigrants and graduates. Scotland was likely to vote Remain as UKIP doesn't do very well up there, but it was actually quite a bit more strongly Remain than I expected. Northern Ireland might vote Remain because of its Republican areas. Wales was a bit of an unknown quantity to me, but I understood that UKIP did well in recent elections in Wales, so a Leave vote might be possible. Weighing up all those areas in my head (without doing any sums), I thought the UK would vote overall to Leave, as provincial England is a pretty big chunk of the UK.
The final set of nine UK opinion polls on the referendum day, June 23rd, all predicted a Remain victory apart from ICM.
ICM, in its online polls, seems to have been the most accurate pollster in terms of predicting the final result.
Correction - 6 out of the 9 polls predicted Remain. Leave was predicted by 3 polls, Opinium, TNS and ICM.
But did you know that Leave voting was caused by obesity?
You can see this particular bit of junk science (by the Univeristy of East Anglia - who else!) here:
It took me a while to understand the Top 10 districts tables in the Peter Ormosi blog post. The column headings are in percent, but the figures are actually decimal fractions, so need to be multiplied by 100 to turn them into percent.
One major problem with the "obese vote leave" theory is that it is obviously going to break down for Scotland, the land of the deep-fried Mars bar.
If we look at the overall obesity statistics for the four home nations of the UK, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland using a recent House of Commons briefing paper:
The overall obesity rate is: Scotland 28%, Northern Ireland 25%, England 24%, Wales 22%. The "obese vote leave" theory would suggest Scotland and Northern Ireland would be more likely to vote Leave out of the four nations, when they actually voted Remain. The two less obese home nations, England and Wales, should be more likely to vote Remain out of the four nations, but actually voted Leave.
The referendum betting was interesting.A number of media commentators stated that the bookmakers got it wrong. They should know better. Bookmakers have one objective and that is a profit regardless of the outcome.It is called "making a book". It can be tricky with price swings but most will have balanced the book + a profit.
On the Tuesday the best leave price was 3/1 & remain price 1/4.
This corresponds to 25% & 80% giving 105% or in bookie parlance 5% " over round".
and a 4.7% return on turnover..
Leave stood out as the value bet for the punter The polls generally predicted a remain win but by a far smaller margin than that suggested by the betting.
What was that economics student thinking when he wagered his £2000 student loan
seemingly at 1/8 odds?
The pro-Remain faction of the UK news media seemed to be quite keen on the idea of portraying the bookmakers as being some sort of 'streetwise' version of the opinion polling organisations in the runup to the EU referendum. The opinion poll results for the referendum were presenting a confusing picture, with telephone polls often suggesting a comfortable win for Remain, but the supposedly less representative online polls suggesting a much closer result. The bookmaker odds always suggested a comfortable win for Remain, so the pro-Remain journalists talked up the betting activity as they liked the look of it.
But the impression I have is that betting on political events is a bit different to normal betting in the UK. In political betting there seem to be a significant number of what might be called investor-type gamblers, who are prepared to bet much larger than average amounts and appear to come from the financial community. The economics student who squandered £2000 might be regarded as being one of these. The ultimate example of one of these investor-type gamblers would be an anonymous individual who bet £900K on a No vote in the 2014 Scottish Referendum, and managed to make a £200K profit. This BBC article describes the thinking that went behind the £900K bet:
It seems evident from the article that the high stakes punter believes that opinion polling is very accurate, and that opinion pollsters can be relied upon to carry out accurate sampling of the public. I suspect that in the 2016 EU Referendum, the investor-type gamblers were assuming that the opinion polls were accurate enough to be confident of a Remain win. The largest bet was £100K for Remain by a woman in Central London. I understand that about two thirds of the money being bet on the referendum was for Remain, whilst about 70% of betting transactions were actually for Leave. The bookmakers reacted to all the money being stacked on Remain by shortening the odds, making the probability of a Remain victory look unrealistically high.