James Forsyth

Vote Leave’s £50 million question

Vote Leave's £50 million question
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If you ask most people if they wanted to win £50 million, the answer would be: where do I sign up? That’s why Vote Leave has launched a competition this morning (here’ the link to enter) offering £50 million to anyone who can correctly predict the result of every game in this summer’s European football championship, if no-one scoops the whole prize,£50,000 will go the person who came closest.

Why is the prize £50 million? Because that’s what Vote Leave say the UK sends to the European Union each day. Vote Leave hope that this competition will get one of its key messages, the cost of EU membership, out to a non-politically involved audience.

So, what’s in this £50 million competition for Vote Leave? Put simply, data. To enter, you have to put in your name, mobile, Facebook and email. You also have to say which way you will vote, though Inners can enter too, and how enthusiastic you are. This information should help improve both Vote Leave’s ground operation and, crucially, its social media targeting strategy. If you don't know much about football, you can simply get the website to generate an entry for you. I understand that Vote Leave has taken legal advice and that this exercise is fully compliant with election law.

The idea is adapted from a competition run by Warren Buffet in the US asking people to predict the result of the March Madness basketball competition which received millions of entries. Now, we can’t know how popular this game will be. But you have to think that the combination of £50 million prize money and football will get people talking. It is certainly the most audacious data gathering exercise in British political history and by the end of the weekend, we’ll have an idea of whether it will be the most successful too.

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