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Indyref Turnout betting

| 19.08.2014

Ladbrokes are offering odds on the turnout for the Scottish Independence referendum next month. Below is a chart showing recent polling which asked people how likely they were to vote, which I have borrowed from the excellent What Scotland Thinks site.


So, certainty to vote seems to be on an upward trend, and now exceeding 80%. I had assumed that this measure would tend to miss actual turnout on the high side, but Comres have some analysis which says it has been very close in the past.

I’ve compiled a list of turnout at other elections which may give us a further clue as to what to expect on September 18th:

  • 93.5% 1995 Quebec Independence Referendum
  • 75.5% 1992 UK General Election (Scotland)
  • 63.8% 2010 UK General Election (Scotland)
  • 63.8% 1979 Scottish Devolution Referendum
  • 60.4% 1997 Scottish Devolution Referendum
  • 50.6% 2011 Scottish Parliamentary Election
  • 42.2% 2011 UK AV Referendum
  • 34.2% 2014 UK European Parliamentary Election

That staggering 93% figure for Quebec in 1995 was all the more remarkable when comparing it to Canadian general elections of the 1990s, which had turnouts under 70%. That 1995 referendum was exceptionally close, with NON winning by just over 1% – I think it is fair to assume that the closer the polls look next month, the higher we should expect turnout to be.

Ladbrokes currently have a midpoint of 77.5% and took a £6,000 bet on it being under last month. On the other hand, our initial quote of 16/1 about it being over 85% was snapped up and that price is now just 7/2. We’ll be hoping it’s somewhere in between those two marks.




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.