As we look forward to what effect the budget has on the polls, here’s an updated look at what they’ve done in the past. The graph below shows the government’s lead in the two YouGov polls before and after each of the last ten budgets (for the most recent budgets, done in the era of daily polling, I’ve taken the average government lead in the two weeks before and after the budget).

Effect of budgets on opinion poll leads

As you can see, the idea of governments getting “budget bounces” hasn’t really hold water in recent years. Most of the time budgets don’t have much of an effect at all. The exceptions were Alistair Darling’s budgets in 2008 and 2009 when his speeches brought home exactly how dire the economic situation was and had consequentially horrid effects on the government’s poll position.

George Osborne’s first budget in June last year appears to have produced a very short term boost for the government, but it was (a) only minor and (b) lasted all of a week.

120 Responses to “On budget bounces (or lack thereof)”

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  1. Big Gordy will enjoy his dinner this evening in full knowledge that MicroPhone Faux Pas is contagious :)

  2. Ah…the authentic voice of Liberal Democracy as Mr Clegg speaks from the heart….

  3. A number of petrol stations have raised price/litre by 3 pence today (presumably instead of by 4p).

  4. Retained his SOH – that’s the ticket! :-) I like the cursing too, LDs will soar to – er, 13%?

  5. Could his remark not be interpreted as a lament? That having to keep “on message” with his coalition partner means he doesn’t get to say what he really wants to say?

  6. Neil A
    Only by somebody very wooden – not on UKPR I hope.

  7. No polls tonight for UK, but very interesting polls for Germany. The latest poll by Forsa for next Sunday’s election in Baden-Wurttemberg confirms the lead of center-left alliance, for the first time ever (Center-right 43, Center-left 48), but the most interesting thing is that Reds and Greens are both at 24%, so the color of the new Land’s president will be decided by a few votes. Frau Merkel, who, as an implacable teacher, dispenses good and bad notes to all other Europeans (and especially to us Southerners) seems to get a very bad note herself by her own subjects!!

  8. @Virgilio

    Why do you think the Germans are so angry with Merkel? The UK government would kill for growth/unemployment figures like Germany’s.

    If they are fed up with the Euro bail outs, what are the Greens/Left proposing instead?

  9. @ Iceman

    Very much alive, I can assure you of that.

    So how would massive amounts of extra debt help, then?

    Your 1-1.5% per annum growth prediction is based on you knowing better than the OBR, presumably?

    “In fact I think the Labour party are actually quite shocked at just how bad things are so quickly”

    What the current situation reveals is how dependent the economy had become on the life support mechanism of racking up more and more debt – public and private. The only two major sources of growth in the UK economy in recent years have been government and consumer spending. Unfortunately we now have to rely on growth from what is left of the real, productive private sector. Simply disguising the underlying situation by carrying on borrowing is merely putting off the inevitable and is highly irresponsible. Do you know how rapidly our interest bill on the public debt is growing?

    We have just lived through the years of plenty, when imports from Asia were cheap and China wasn’t yet a major competitor for commodities. Now wages in Asia are going up and raw materials are too. That is what is squeezing our standards of living at the moment, not what George Osborne said about cuts that haven’t even been made yet.

  10. @Robert C
    In French we have a word, “desamour”, which, IMO, expresses the Germans’ feeling towards Merkel. Germany has very good economic indices, but a great part of the population feels that they do not get any benefit for this, because of the tight policies of the government. Ultra-liberals, on the other hand, think that these policies are not tight enough. As for the bailouts of countries like Greece, Eire and now Portugal, many think that German taxpayers should not contribute to their salvation, whilst others, more pro-Euro, think that Mrs Merkel faced the problem too late and now forces ex bad pupils to be excellent overnight, demanding very hard sacrifices from people who were not used to any and plunging even more the economies of the south into chaos. Add to this her mark of personal charisma and elegance and the serious infighting within her own coalition and even her own party, and the cup is full. Of course this does not mean that Green-Red have the miracle recipe (nobody has),

  11. Angus Reid puts #UKIP on 8% with the Lib Dems on 10%.

  12. ROBERT C “What the current situation reveals is how dependent the economy had become on the life support mechanism of racking up more and more debt ”

    Couldn’t agree more. (& the rest of your post) This is a super tanker that is being turned round. It won’t happen by next Wednesday. It will probably take a decade to re-balance properly.

  13. @Robert C

    Well put, there really is no alternative to the current policy.

    Angus Reid puts #UKIP on 8% with the Lib Dems on 10%.’

    Hope they understand the implications for the AV poll.

  15. @ Robert C

    ” knowing better than the OBR, presumably?”

    I don’t know if Iceman is right or not, but the OBR uses an econometric model that is more like fortune telling from tea leaves – it has a degree of freedom (it has a number of variables that it cannot define simultaneously) that exceeds any reliability. Yesterday on Newsnight its head tried to blame it on the data instead of its model. It was a sad scene of lack of professional honesty.

  16. Jack,

    If UKIP are to continue with this splendid isolation & opposition to bombing Muslims that we have spent the last 10 years doing, they might just be worth a second look.

  17. @TheGreenBenches
    One must not underestimate UKIP. Its sister parties in Europe are actually on the rise: True Finns in Finland, for the forthcoming GE of April, polls at 16-18% (from 4% in 2007) and is at the same level as the three major parties (Center, Conservative and Soc. Dem.). In Greece, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) has 9% in the last poll (GE 2009: 5,5). In Italy, the infamous Lega Nord polls at 11-13% (8% in 2008). It is the first party in many regions of the North and keeps afloat Berlusconi, whose party has lost almost 10%. There is all over Europe a widespread tendency towards identity politics (either national or regional) and reject of multiculturalism and integration policies. This feeling, combined to financial insecurity and economic crisis, benefits to such parties, and conversely their strengthening provokes a reaction of modernists who tend to align themselves with center-left. Result: center-right is trapped between these two. Only last Sunday in France, Sarkozy’s party went under 17% in cantonal elections, whilst the National Front scored an impressive 15% at a level where it has 0 elected councilors, and the center-left was clearly ahead (25% Socialists and 24% for Greens, Radical Left and independent center-left candidates).


    Re the French National Front, are they as centralist as UKIP re Corsica, Savoy, Flanders and the “French” bits of Catalonia & the Basque Country?

  19. Why no polls?

  20. The problem with UKIP is the fact it is a one trick pony. Farage is very charismatic but there is no one else in there of any consequence or ability. Remember the candidates who stood for the leadership when he stood down so he could run against the Speaker? If he had died in that plane crash, UKIP would have disappeared by now.

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