(FOX NEWS) - The outcome of a historic referendum on whether Great Britain should remain in the European Union was heading for an extraordinarily close finish early Friday.
With 117 of the 382 counting areas declaring their vote totals, the "Remain" camp led by just under 20,000 votes out of more than 7 million cast, but was underperforming analysts' expectations.
"Few 'remain' strongholds are doing better than expected," said John Curtice, a University of Strathclyde political scientist and BBC election analyst. "There are far more places where 'leave' are doing better than expected."
"It may be possible that the experts are going to have egg on their face later on tonight," he said.
The uncertainty rocked the financial markets. The British pound initially soared as polls closed and two opinion surveys put "remain" ahead and two leading supporters of the "leave" campaign said it appeared the pro-EU side had won. But it then suffered its biggest fall in years, plummeting from about $1.50 to almost $1.40 as results began to show stronger-than-expected support for quitting the bloc.
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