windmiller wrote:Even the bookmakers got the result drastically wrong. They are usually much more accurate than pollsters as they can't afford not to be
I thought bookmakers start with a guestimate and then as the money comes in adjust the odds accordingly.
If everyone who bet did so on a leave victory then that would indicate a leave victory was very likely, ditto the opposite.
You could argue its the same system pollsters use, i.e. large scale sampling with the main difference being how self selection manifests itself in the two forms.
Overall though I'd go with pollsters over bookies, I think the science behind polling allows you to make some adjustment for self selection. Bookies otoh have no easy way to figure it out.
I think the way it works now with the big bookmakers is that these days computers re-adjust the odds according to the money that comes in, with an eye to making a profit, and to what the competition is offering in the way of odds to get custom. I don't think they tend to back their own specific knowledge or opinions a huge amount. I think that the smaller private bookies sometimes do back their specific judgement of horse/jockey/trainer form etc. more and take a bigger risk on their personal knowledge, which is often very comprehensive, according to how good they feel their knowledge is on a particular race.
National bookies don't like big payouts to individuals, and I am told will ban anyone winning much, private bookies will often be more open to accommodating big bets and/or serious punters. There are also betting exchanges (internet bookies where you can offer your own odds against as well as for a horse to other people, effectively being a bookie in a small way).
So a big bookie's odds may be more affected by a surge in popular support for a horse (or outcome of a vote) whereas a private bookie may prefer to put more weight on backing his own judgement, though they may lay off a little risk by betting against their own opinion with another bookie in case they're wrong. Basically, it's complicated.
"If everyone who bet did so on a leave victory then that would indicate a leave victory was very likely, ditto the opposite." Not really. I might be a remain voter but bet on leave because I thought the vote would go that way, or so that I;d have something to drown my sorrows in if I lost. And vice-versa.
As for polls, the polls closely before the vote were generally within the margin of error of the result, and the vote was so close it could easily have gone either way. It was, in my opinion, constitutionally unsound and in practical terms, insane, to allow a 50%+ win of the votes on one day. Constitutional changes like leave ought to be done on 2/3 of the vote on the day, or 50%+ of those entitled to vote. Even most sports clubs and societies insist on that, in order to prevent a reckless change due to a transient issue people have got hot under the collar about, or due to facts not being properly known by enough people. I might also say that if one side broke the rules in a vote to win, or spread misinformation, both of which happened with the leave vote, a vote would normally have to be rerun.