Analysing the Autumn Statement on Social Media

Analysing the Autumn Statement on Social Media

Yesterday saw the announcement of the annual Autumn Statement in the UK where UK Chancellor George Osborne gave the country an update on the country’s economic status and announced a few high profile policies. Here at Talkwalker, we decided to monitor the social media reaction to the statement to gauge public feeling towards some of the key issues and the key people involved.

Autumn Statement - Key Topics

The most discussed topic during the statement was the reformed policy on stamp duty, and by some distance. Stamp duty refers to a tax incurred when somebody buys a home and as the cost of buying a new home is often a hot topic of discussion in the UK, this was discussed extensively on social media.

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Stamp duty completely dominated the discussion with over 9000 mentions during the course of the afternoon, followed by “Google Tax” with around 1700 mentions. “Google tax” was a reference to the 25% tax that will be levied on multinational companies that attempt to avoid tax through moving profits to other countries - another issue that has periodically dominated the headlines over the last couple of years.

“Northern Powerhouse” was also a popular topic of social discussions with around 800 mentions, a reference to the announcement of several new policies that are focused towards supporting business in the northern region of the UK.

Interestingly, the hashtag #cameronmustgo generated 4400 mentions during the statement suggesting that those using social media remain vocal about their dissatisfaction with the UK Prime Minister’s performance and used the Autumn Statement as an opportunity to make their voice heard.

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George Osborne vs Ed Balls

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Moving onto the key figures from both sides, it was George Osborne who unsurprisingly had a higher share of voice (he was the one providing the statement after all) but it is interesting to note that Ed Balls had a higher peak of mentions. The peak came at around 14:40 when the shadow chancellor began to read off statistics from the Office for Budget Responsbility (OBR) which he used to suggest that some of positive figures Osborne cited during his statement were not quite as rosy as he had made them seem.

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Sentiment towards George Osborne

George Osborne: Before statement (left) and After statement(right)

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The sentiment analysis suggests that overall, the Autumn Statement was neither a win nor a loss for George Osborne in terms of public opinion on social media. Although his positive sentiment dropped by 3%, his negative sentiment also dropped, though not by quite as high a margin. Given the potential for negativity regarding such an announcement, this could perhaps be seen even as a small win for Osborne.

Overall, the Autumn Statement generated over 150,000 mentions across social media over the course of the afternoon suggesting that it was a fairly major social media event. The two main Autumn Statement hashtags alone -#AS2014 and #autumnstatement - generated over 120,000 mentions. For George Osborne, the fact that the most talked about topic was reform of stamp duty, something most would consider to be a positive thing, shows that at least on social media, the Conservative’s may be able to chalk this result up as a marginal win.

Photo Credits: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror