ISLAMABAD: According to a Gallup Pakistan National Survey conducted in the year 2013 (4 years ago, at the start of the current government’s tenure) respondents were asked to what extent they thought the budget would benefit the common man. 11% said that it would benefit the common man a lot, 31% said that it would benefit somewhat, 30% said that it would benefit very little, and 28% said that it would not benefit the common man at all.
Comparative Picture: The question was asked again in 2016 to enable a concrete comparison. In 2016, 6% respondents said that the budget would benefit the common man a lot, 24% said that it would benefit them somewhat, 26% said that it would benefit them very little, and 42% said that it would not benefit them at all. 2% did not know, or did not wish to respond.
According to public opinion, there has been a 12% drop in the perceived benefit of budgetary policies. In 2013, 42% people believed that the budget could benefit the common man, while in 2016 only 30% said that the budget could benefit the common man. Thus there has been a 12% decrease in the number of people who believe the budget would help the common man, between 2013, which is the election year when the current PMLN government was elected and 2016, which is four years into the tenure of the government. Likewise, there has been a 10% increase in the number of people who believe that the budget will not benefit the common man.
Trend analysis since 2008: This question has been asked every year since 2008. There seems to be a pattern in the opinion of the people regarding the budget. It seems that the budget looks more promising to the public in the year in which the government is newly elected, as opposed to 4 years into the government’s tenure when discontent with it is often on the rise. Thus, we see that in 2008 39% people felt that the budget would benefit the common man, while in 2011 only 15% people felt so, which is a 23% drop. It is also noted that the people are more positive about the budget submitted by the PMLN government, than with the previous PPP government at respective points in each party’s tenures. This may be due to the electoral success of both parties i.e. PMLN won more votes in 2013 than PPP, when it formed government in 2008.