By Ian Dunt
Bookies have all but written off a victory for Yes to AV at tomorrow's referendum, saying there was "no serious backing" for a surprise win.
Opinion polls are consistently showing a firm lead for the 'no' camp, with a ComRes poll for the Independent suggesting 66% of those who were sure to vote would vote 'no', compared to 34% voting 'yes'.
But with many voters still undecided and considerable uncertainty over turnout, the 'yes' camp is insisting that a surprise victory is still possible.
Punters making bets at William Hill will have to gamble £16 just to get £1 back, however, with 1/16 odds on a 'no' vote and 7/1 on a 'yes' vote.
"There has been absolutely no serious backing for a 'yes' vote, and the 'no' odds have consistently shortened throughout the campaign, with over 75% of bets placed on a 'no' outcome," said spokesman Graham Sharpe.
Analysts believe the Yes to AV camp has been hurt by the fact that the people most likely to back it - the young - are also the demographic least likely to vote, whereas as older, often Conservative, voters are more likely to turnout and to vote no.
Much of the attention in the later stages of the campaign has centred on the Labour party, which is split on the issue at every level. A slim majority of its supporters are expected to vote 'no', however.
High turnout of Labour voters in Scotland and Wales, where separate elections are taking place, makes the party's attitude important. But analysts are nervous of predicting events in too much detail as so much uncertainty continues to shroud turnout and voting intention in these areas - where the AV campaign has barely registered.