A social budget? Analysis of #Budget2013


As you may have read in The Telegraph’s coverage of the UK’s 2013 budget announcement, we’ve done some social media analysis into the facts and figures, winners and losers.

Budget wordcloud

As we expected, it’s been a more social budget announcement than 2012, with 258,000 tweets on the subject already. In 2012, there were 138,500 tweets in total – a figure that was surpassed in the early afternoon today.

However, that’s not necessarily good news for the Government, as our initial findings using automated sentiment analysis suggest that negative tweets outweigh positive by more than 2:1 (10% compared to 4%).

Labour have emerged as the winners in the hashtag battle, with its effort #downgradedchancellor mentioned around 6,000 times during the day – three times more than the Government’s #aspirationnation.

George Osborne’s key policies were getting some traction on social media, with beer getting 10,000 mentions in relation to the budget, fuel tax 4,650 and tax allowance 4,300.

These polices were actually quite warmly received, so this suggests that the negative sentiment I mentioned earlier is mainly aimed at the chancellor himself. This is supported by 1,145 mentions today of choking, or choke in relation to the chancellor and also ‘briefcase w*nker’ trending before the budget.

The negativity had already started before the budget, with actor and comedian David Schneider responsible for the most re-tweeted budget-related tweet this morning:

However, the chancellor will be breathing a sigh of relief that so far, there has been no emergence of anything similar to last year’s #grannytax.

The top hashtags during the budget announcement and immediately after were, in order of popularity, #budget2013, #budget, #bbcbudget and #downgradedchancellor. The Government’s #aspirationnation came in 10th.

Budget hashtags

However, it seems we are a fickle nation of tweeters. At 4pm, talk of the budget dropped off significantly, and instead, the Jedward related hashtag #HappensInTheDarkJEDWARD became the top trending topic on Twitter in the UK.

Over the next 48 hours, we’ll see sentiments towards specific policies develop, and become more focused and specific. Last year #pastytax took a while to emerge but along with #grannytax, arguably destroyed the 2012 budget.

Osborne will undoubtedly be using his new Twitter account to monitor the public sentiment – and keeping his fingers crossed we don’t see a repeat performance.