With the budget tomorrow, I thought I’d update this chart from a year ago. It shows the two YouGov polls preceding each of the last eight budgets, and the two YouGov polls that followed each one, giving us a sign of whether the budget gave the government a boost or not.
As you can see, budgets have generally not given the government much of a boost –
the most positive one was 2005, which took Labour from three points behind to two points ahead. I am sure is it no coincidence that it was a pre-election budget! As someone has pointed out, it was actually 2006, so not a pre-election budget – my earlier cynicism was unwarranted. The actual 2005 budget didn’t have much of an effect at all.
The two most recent budgets have been disastrous in terms of Labour’s position in the polls. In both cases Alistair Darling was forced to deliver news about just how bad the economic situation was, and both turned a Labour deficit of around about 6 points into a Conservative lead in the mid teens. Clearly a similar result from tomorrow’s budget would be disasterous for Labour, but with the country out of recession a more positive message from Darling may be able to avoid a similar result to 2008 and 2009.