The past 24 hours have seen a dramatic increase in volume of the topic ‘The Budget’ on the TellYouGov leaderboard, with users, or ‘tyggers’, commenting in anticipation of, during, and after the Budget announcement, which was delivered by Chancellor George Osborne yesterday lunchtime.
TellYouGov has been tracking opinion throughout, picking up the sharp increase in volume score to 179 (up 71) during the delivering of the budget, which coincided with the score plummeting to -67, a clear increase in negative sentiment. The volume score has continued to increase overnight, rocketing to a still-increasing 605 this morning, while the sentiment score remains at a stable -62, suggesting that the negative feeling may not last.
Prior to yesterday’s announcement, though, the vast majority of YouGov tyggers were dreading the announcements, with most people expecting it to be ‘very hard hitting’.
The negative sentiments continued as the emergency budget was being read out, with one tygger offering the view that Tories were adopting an 'if it's not hurting it's not working' mantra. The major increase in VAT, from 17.5% to 20%, seemed to create significant amount of disparaging opinions, with people worrying that it will be a major ‘hit to their pockets’. Some believed the budget was targeting the less fortunate, and that it was going to ‘bleed the poor even more’ in these already ‘dire times’.
However, there is also positive feeling towards the much-debated budget. Many welcomed the lack of tax increase on cider (about which one tygger joked ‘ChancelLAD’, a suggestion that Osborne’s decision to not increase the tax was perhaps not entirely motivated by economy), while others praised ‘George’s sensible, restrained and fair’ plan on the whole. Some tyggers added that it was ‘tough but fair’, and that it was necessary for us to ‘tighten our belts’. Another politically claimed that it would ‘clear up Labour’s mess’ while others simply called it ‘good economic medicine’ and ‘on the right track’.
Such division is expected given that yesterday’s announcement marked the unveiling of the biggest package of tax increases and spending cuts in a generation. Whether they will have the desired effect or not is to be seen in the next few months; watch this space for the ongoing leaderboard reaction.