newspoll

Apr 24, 2009

Is there a polling Budget Effect?

The short answer is “no”. Regardless of how complicated I make any regression analysis on measuring some ethereal polling bounce for the government caused by the budget, I simply ca

Possum Comitatus — Editor of Pollytics

Possum Comitatus

Editor of Pollytics

The short answer is “no”. Regardless of how complicated I make any regression analysis on measuring some ethereal polling bounce for the government caused by the budget, I simply cannot find one.

To highlight why this is the case, let’s look at the Newspoll results going back to 1990 and rather than bore the bejesus out of you with acres of regression results, we’ll just compare two measures of the polls.

Firstly, we’ll look at the two poll primary vote average of the government both before and after the budget, and take the difference between those results (to measure any short term change), and secondly we’ll do the same with a 4 poll average to measure a medium term change. For this, we’ll use Newspoll data.

budgeteffect1

Each budget essentially needs to be treated on its own merits. Some budgets, like Keating’s notorious 1993 one, turned out to be catastrophic in terms of its impact on both short and medium term levels of political support. Others, like Howard’s Porkstorm election budget of 2001, caused an increase in both short and medium term levels of political support for the government.

We often hear a lot of piffle from columnists around budget time, over the inevitability of budget bounces and “masterclass” budgets shifting political heaven and earth.

So it’s worth keeping in one’s thought orbit that, on average, budgets struggle to make a rats arse of difference – the occasional one does, but most simply do not. There is certainly no evidence to remotely suggest that budget bounces are a statistically significant phenomenon of Australian federal politics.

3 comments

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3 thoughts on “Is there a polling Budget Effect?

  1. Spam Box

    Budget fails to lift poll numbers

    Newspoll -: 58-42 “Normally we’d expect a bounce from a good Budget, Swan’s latest fails”

    (6 months later)

    58-42 -: “Opposition fails to capitalise on Swans miserable budget failure”

    Good Grief

  2. steve

    The Liberals could probably engineer some sort of a dead cat bounce in the polls at budget time by replacing Turnbull with Mr Workchoices Costello, but could he maintain any rise until the next election?

  3. imacca

    Looking at the Pollytrend plot in that context. From Budget time last year the ALP support was trending down to hit a low in October 08. So it would be hard to argue that they got any bounce out of that. Yet since October 08 and the depths of the GFC (if as we hope things are actually improving) the ALP support has been definitively trending up.

    Its now about 60% on that plot and we are at budget time again.

    There cant be much if any room left for a “budget bounce” in 2009 to the ALP even if everyone loved it. If its a tough budget i’d expect ALP support to drop in the short term at least.

    Still, not having room for a bounce in the polls must be a comforting thing for the ALP planners. And be causing utter despair amongst the Liberal ranks.

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