A twist on the exit poll ban – private polls used to make money on polling day

There is a ban on publishing exit polls – that is polls based on how people have actually voted – before the polls close in an election or referendum. (See principally Section 66a, 1983 Representation of the People Act.)

The idea is to stop reports that the election result is set putting people off voting, such as if the media was dominated from lunchtime on polling day by reports that party X is going to win in a landslide.

Which makes the following an interesting twist – a way in effect of carrying out an exit poll, keeping the results secret and yet people being able to find out what the results are:

This all appears to be legal. Though of course reality will be muddied by the possibilities of other factors moving the sterling option price – such as speculators trying to outguess what other speculators will do in response to yet other speculators possibly having access to information.

But it could presage a breakdown in the traditional exit poll ban which generally has held up pretty well in the UK so far. One to watch.


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