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Probability of Brexit drops to 20% as polls move against ‘leave’

Treasury’s warning of economic effects of EU exit dents leave campaign.

The probability of Britain voting to leave the European Union dropped to 20% on Thursday after the Treasury warned such a move might lead to decades of economic damage, according to the Number Cruncher Politics Referendum Forecast.

The forecast, generated by political blogger Matt Singh, is based on current polling and an analysis of how voters have shifted in previous referendums. The decrease this week reflects the way polls have moved toward “Remain” in the last few days. The index was at 24% when it was launched on April 13.

While the month started with Prime Minister David Cameron facing questions about his tax affairs after his late father appeared in files leaked from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, the first week of formal campaigning has seen the government throwing its full weight into the campaign against a so-called Brexit.

“The latest polls, both phone and online, have shown a shift towards ‘Remain’,’ Singh said. “It would appear that the Panama Papers have had little impact, whereas the shift in the referendum debate onto the economics of Brexit is having an effect. As a result, ‘Leave’ has fallen further from where it needs to be at this point.”

While polls conducted online have suggested the race may be close, an April 20 survey of forecasts by the academics Stephen Fisher and Rosalind Shorrocks found all were pointing to Britain voting to stay in the EU in the June 23 referendum. The probability of a Brexit is put at 35% by gambling website Betfair.

© 2016 Bloomberg

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