Scottish Independence Odds Defying Recent Polls

Scottish Independence Odds Defying Recent Polls
© PA
2020 may be too soon for Nicola Sturgeon to push ahead with a second referendum in Scotland

The odds of Scotland securing independence from the UK have widened over the coronavirus crisis, despite polls suggesting Scots now favour a breakaway from the union.

A collection of recent politics polling data from Britain Elects shows a growing appetite for independence.

In December 2019, 48 per cent of Scots said they would vote Yes on independence, with 49 per cent backing No.

Fast-forward seven months and Panelbase polling shows 54 per cent would now vote to leave the UK, with 46 per cent remaining.

Odds Defy Polls

Yet the shift does not seem to have affected the Scottish independence betting odds on this issue. Boylesports set a price of 4/7 for Yes to win the next Indy Ref (whenever that may be) back in November. Since then the odds have actually drifted to 4/5.

Meanwhile, the odds on No winning the vote have come in from 11/10 in March – the start of the lockdown – to 10/11.

The Yes vote remains the most likely when odds are converted into chance (55.6%) yet the movement suggests punters don’t always follow the polls.

Indeed, it may be the case that Scottish politics betting punters are taking advantage of a high price on No, thus pulling the odds in.

Indyref 2 Date

How far away we are from even witnessing ‘Indyref 2’ remains to be seen.

Scotland has a heavy SNP presence at Westminster and within Holyrood, with a mandate to secure independence from the UK.

The party failed to win a referendum vote in 2014 with 55 per cent backing No to independence.

Six years on and the SNP are ramping up rhetoric for a fresh vote. They claim the UK is pulling Scotland out of the EU against its will (Scotland voted 62 to 38 to Remain).

Another strong performance in last December’s general election – coupled with a national Tory majority that plays into the SNP’s hands of claiming that Scotland didn’t vote for Boris Johnson’s government – has rekindled hope of a fresh referendum on the issue.

What’s more, Johnson’s refusal to consider extending the Brexit transition period past 31 December, 2020 could lead the SNP to rethink their plans on when an independence vote should take place.

2020 Too Soon

Yet Nicola Sturgeon may decide 2020 is not the year to push ahead with a second referendum.

Indeed, the chances of Indyref 2 taking place this year remains slim.

William Hill’s price on a 2020 vote stands at 25/1 and is drifting further. Even a vote in 2021 is widening and currently sits at 4/1.

The SNP seem most likely to nail a referendum in 2022 or later. At 1/6 with Paddy Power, this price has already come in from 2/7 in March.

Make no mistake, a second Scottish independence referendum will take place at some point. The SNP will hope to strike during this Tory parliament, when their claim against UK rule is at its peak.

But Sturgeon is no-doubt aware that a second election defeat would almost certainly set back independence for decades. Timing is everything and for now the SNP may simply contend themselves with strong polling.

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