BMG’s latest Public Perceptions of the Economy (PPE) tracker results show that confidence in the chancellor has slumped significantly since he delivered his budget in March. Indicators also reveal a sharp decline in public optimism for the national economy.

After delivering a budget that is reported to have divided both the public and Tory MPs, George Osborne has seen a sharp decline in his personal approval ratings.

For the first time since BMG started PPE tracking in October 2015, results show that the Chancellor’s net economic approval rating has fallen significantly below those for John McDonnell. Osborne’s net score dropped eleven points from -32 in February 2016 to -43 shortly after he delivered the budget in March.

Interestingly – the results suggest that the fall has come predominantly from Conservative supporters. In February Osborne’s net approval from those who said they will vote Conservative was +44, but this fell sharply in March, down 32 points to just +12. While Osborne’s net approval has been on the slide since December, the Shadow Chancellor, who took a back and seat at the budget due to House of Commons convention, has seen relatively little movement in his approval. Since the budget John McDonnell has seen his approval rise slightly from -38 in February, to -35 in March.

BMG Research Director, Dr Michael Turner said “clearly Osborne might be disappointed to see his approval ratings fall, but unfortunately it’s amongst Conservatives where his rating drops farthest. Not an ideal outcome for a Chancellor with leadership ambitions that will rely on a popular vote of members.”

Also in this month’s release are PPE indicators for UK household finances and the national economy. The results paint a rather gloomy picture with a continued decline in optimism for both the national economy and people personal finances in the coming 12 months.

National Economic Optimism

National economic optimism, the public’s view of how the national economy will change in the coming 12 months, saw a very sharp decline in March, falling fourteen points since February from -4% to -18%. Among Conservative supporters, economic optimism has continued to fall significantly, this month by 12 points for the same period from +37% to +25%

National Economic Performance

National economic performance, that is the public’s view of national economic performance over the previous 12 months, has fallen a further six points since February, by a 16 points since December, from +6% to -10%

Personal Financial Performance

Though personal financial performance scores, that is, net perceptions of how people’s household finances have changed over the previous 12 months, had fallen steadily since December from -8% to -16% in February, they rose again in March, up four points from -16% to -10% post-budget

Personal Financial Optimism

Personal financial optimism, the public’s view of how their household finances will change in the coming 12 months, had increased steadily since October but fell sharply in February ahead of the budget from 0% to -4%. Since the budget personal financial optimism has remained relatively flat, up one point to -3% in March.

Data tables containing a breakdown of the most recent results can be found here soon.

Fieldwork information and methodology can be found here.

For further details about this poll, and any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch by email or phone.

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Email: polling@bmgresearch.co.uk

Phone: 0121 333 6006

M.Turner Dr Michael Turner – Research Director

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