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May 31, 2016 | “Silver Trap” UK Style: Brexit Odds Way Off?

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

We now have an update from Matt Singh at Number Cruncher Politics on the odds of Brexit.

Despite massive shifts in two polls by The Guardian (online and telephone polls both show Brexit in the lead), and a Telegraph poll yesterday which showed the Brexiteers only trailing by 6 points, down by 15 points the week before, Singh bumped up the odds of Brexit by a mere 2 percentage points to 21%.

Is Singh misreading the polls and a sentiment change just as Nate Silver did with Donald Trump in the US?

Please consider Is Britain heading for Brexit? Latest polls.

Today we got a pair of parallel phone and online polls from ICM for the Guardian. Online showed a 3 point lead for Leave, which is pretty unremarkable. But what was really fascinating was the big swing in the phone poll, compared with a fortnight ago, to show Leave 3 points ahead there too.

Coming on the heels of yesterday’s ORB/Telegraph poll, which showed the Brexiteers only trailing by 6 points (having trailed by 15 points the week before), certainly got people talking. Is this a Leave surge on the back of last week’s migration figures?

It could be. But there are a couple of reasons to be cautious. First of all, while substantial shifts in public opinion can and do happen, polls often overshoot, even when there is an apparent reason. When the draft EU deal was published in February, we some some huge Leave leads that didn’t last. A move has to be genuine and sustained, and very often big event-driven swings (see voting intention polling after party conferences and budgets) often haven’t been.

The other complicating factor is that the fieldwork for these polls was done over a bank holiday.

The effect on the forecast is relatively small – the central projection is now 55-45 and the Brexit probability has increased a couple of points to 21%. This illustrates the whole point of a polling average – to smooth out sudden moves. But if we continue to get polls like today’s, expect the forecast to move down and the Brexit probability to move up quite a bit further.

Matt Singh’s Brexit Odds 2016-05-31

Brexit 2016-05-31

Despite major moves in three separate polls, Singh bumped up his Brexit odds a mere 2 percentage points to 21%.

If the more recent polls were given stronger weight, the odds should have jumped far more than that. Plus, there are still 12% or so undecideds.

If the undecideds have indeed started to break for Brexit, or if there was a sudden change in attitudes, then we are looking at a very close race.

I don’t know if either of those happened, but Singh doesn’t know they haven’t! Thus, 79-21 in favor of remain seems way on the high side.

This reminds me of Nate Silver ignoring polls in Indiana in favor of his own secret sauce. Unlike Indiana, I make no predictions.

Related article: Did Cameron’s Brexit Fearmongering and Lies Backfire?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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May 31st, 2016

Posted In: Mish Talk

One Comment

  • Avatar Joel Dee says:

    I personally am more interested in vote count irregularities.
    The Scottish vote had irregularities and the anti-Brexit
    side has created fears that this may be revisited
    which means to me things may have been tampered
    with?

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