The weekly YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6% – still very much in line with the 9-10 Labour leads that YouGov have been averaging about of late. The rest of the poll dealt mainly with the economy and the photos of Prince Harry.

Economic figures remain extremely bad. 80% of people think the economy is in a bad state and only 9% expect it to get better over the next twelve months. On George Osborne himself, only 14% think he is doing a good job as Chancellor and only 18% think David Cameron should keep him in the role, compared to 54% who want him replaced. Answers to the latter question remain very split along partisan lines – a majority of Labour and Lib Dem voters want Osborne replaced, amongst the Conservative party’s own supporters 29% think that Osborne should go, 47% that he should stay.

On the deficit, 75% of people think that it is very or fairly important that the government reduces it, but only 22% of people think that the government are doing well at this so far (60% think they are not).

Asked about various measures to address the deficit or improve the economy, the most popular is a reduction in regulation (probably because it doesn’t come with an direct economic cost so looks like an “easy” option compared to the others presented), this is followed by borrowing more to spend on large infrastructure projects. Least popular would be increasing taxes, or borrowing money to cut taxes.

Turning to the Prince Harry photos, 60% of people said the papers were right NOT to publish the photos, with 28% saying they should have been published.

68% say Harry’s behaviour was acceptable for a young single man having fun on a private holiday and the photo does not appear to have done any damage to public perceptions of him. 13% say it makes them think more negatively about him, but 12% say it makes them think more positively about him. 71% say it makes no difference to their view. Overall 75% say they have a positive opinion of Harry, compared to 20% who have a negative opinion. More generally 45% of people say the press report too much of the royal family’s private lives, 10% that they give them too much privacy and don’t report stories that are of legitimate public interest, 35% think the balance is about right.

Finally on opening hours, 44% would support abolishing Sunday opening rules, 37% support going back to the usual rules after the Paralympics, 11% would support a complete ban on large shops opening on Sundays.

There is also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday – their topline figures are CON 30%(+1), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 10%(-3), UKIP 12%(nc), Others 10%(nc). Changes are from their previous poll at the beginning of June. The high level of UKIP support looks eyebrow raising, but is pretty typical for Survation and is due to methodological reasons (Survation include UKIP in the main prompt alongside the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats).

170 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 6”

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  1. boooooooooooooo!

  2. @ Anthony,

    On the deficit, 65% of people think that it is very or fairly important that the government reduces it.
    Is that 65% a wee typo? I think it is 75%.

  3. ..their topline figures are CON 30%(+1), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 10%(-3), UKIP 12%(nc), Others 10%(nc).
    CON +1% LDEM -3% all the rest no change. I am wondering where the other 2% went.

  4. Amber – I think was more a mental arithmetic failure than a typo!

  5. Paul (FPT)

    Even the support for cutting business regulation/employment rights is unclear. What regulations or rights? I suspect if you asked do you think your employer should be able to dismiss you unfairly without you having any legal redress the answer would no.

    Indeed and there’s an example of this later in this very poll about Sunday trading (p12). YouGov asked:
    Currently most large shops are only allowed to open for six hours on Sundays. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games the Sunday trading laws have been suspended and shops have been allowed to open for as long as they like on Sundays.
    What do you think should happen after the Olympics and Paralympics?

    While 44% want the longer hours to remain, when you add the 37% who want to revert to the previous situation and the 11% who say that large shops
    should not be allowed to open at all on Sundays
    , they get outvoted. This is despite the fact that more people are shoppers than shop-workers.

    Indeed there’s even a slightly greater majority for imposing trading restrictions on Bank Holidays, where there don’t exist at the moment. So the public is actually calling for more “red tape” (and it can’t be because of religious scruples, because then Bank Holiday shopping would be OK).

    Oddly there’s a big regional variation in the Scotland is much more in favour of extended opening hours than the rest of Britain. Whether this is solidarity with entrepreneurs from the compatriots of Adam Smith or a desire to really annoy the Wee Frees, I couldn’t say.

  6. Thank you for making our prompting method clear Anthony, it is very important that people understand methodology differences.

    Survation change our prompt system to give what we feel will be the most accurate snapshot of public opinion, so for the local elections in May this year, where local council battles were between a combination of CON/LAB/LD we prompted those parties only to calculate swing between each. The results were very accurate as you can see here:

    We polled the locals near to the election and so were more accurate than the earlier projections made by Rallings & Thrasher – the only other guide that was available.

    An example of accuracy in 4 party prompting would be in the Feltham & Heston by election, where Ashcroft Polling prompted 3 parties and Survation prompted 4. Survation had an error rate of 5% using this method vs Ashcroft polling 10% despite Ashcroft having 3x the sample size. Survation showed LDs and UKIP neck for 3rd whereas Ashcroft polling had LDs with double the votes of UKIP. The Lib Dems won by just over 100 votes or so. Details here;

    When we know what the shape of each party running into 2015, we will be conducting national opinion polls that reflect the state of parties at constituency level, for now however we feel that it makes more sense not to guide survey takers to respond in a certain way as a snapshot of actual opinion right now is what we seek.

    Damian Lyons Lowe.

  7. Anthony

    There’s a fieldwork split on the Royals questions between answers given on Thursday and Friday, presumably to monitor if people had seen the pictures in the Sun or not. I’d always thought that most people answered the daily YouGovs in evening rather than the next day, but the split here is Thursday 744/Friday 966. Is that actually the normal pattern or do people take longer to send back the ST ones with more questions on them?

    (Also the weightings only add to less than 700).

  8. Roger – we split the fieldwork into two chunks, one from about 5pm until around about 9am the next morning, the next from 9am until around about 3.30pm in the afternoon. There are normally about 1100 in the first 600 in the second.

    The split in this survey though is at midnight, not at 9am, so people who answered in the middle of night or (more likely) when they checked their email first thing in the morning wouldn’t be how we’d normal categorize them!

    Incidentally, you may be recalling things I used to say when YouGov did longer fieldwork back before daily polling, when we used to get something like two thirds of responses on the first day, then 20% on the second day then 10% on the third day. Sampling is completely different these days, so that no longer applies.

  9. How is it decided whether to prompt or not, and then some parties and not others?

  10. What is fascinating is how out of kilter the “Rest of the South” is with the rest of GB on voting intention.

  11. Lab has a big lead amongst women.

  12. @ Roger Mexico

    Oddly there’s a big regional variation in the Scotland is much more in favour of extended opening hours than the rest of Britain.
    We already have 24/7 supermarkets. Obviously we think the rest of the UK should have to suffer it too. ;-)

  13. Concerning the poll regarding Sunday Trading Restrictions: I wonder what percentage of the 44% that want to abolish the restrictions actually work in the retail sector? Any information on that? The Sunday Trading restrictions were the last safeguard to ensure that retailers couldn’t totally destroy it’s employees family life.

  14. I guess the big question is will Labour be able to make significant inroads in the southern half of England. It’s less encouraging if they build up more votes in Northern England, Wales or Scotland in their safe seats/strongholds if they don’t significantly increase their Midland/southern England vote. It would (in theory) be much more beneficial for them to gain seats in the southern half of the Uk than the northern where they already have most of the seats (and many big majorities, so many of the increased votes will be wasted.).

    The same goes for the Tories and their southern v northern vote. Perhaps even more so.

  15. @ Ambivalent

    Doesn’t the ‘rest of the south’ only elect about 25% of the total MPs? And there are potential Labour seats in there, are there not? Corby is one such, isn’t it?

  16. Corby is in the East Midlands

  17. I would like to learn more about the way regional weighting and adjustments works in YG polls if someone would be kind enough to enlighten me. Is it based on the number of seats or voters or population ? Or perhaps I have missed something more obvious.

  18. Ozwald – just adult population

  19. The question about cutting regulations is interesting. ‘Cutting red tape’ is one of those things that’s easy to support when it’s discussed in the form of airy generalities, yet if cutting the minimum wage was proposed, or gutting annual leave, parental leave or statutory sick pay, or giving your boss the right to sack you for no particular reason with no right of appeal, I can’t see the reaction being too positive.

  20. In addition to what I said above, the Tories should look at what happened to the last conservative government in Australia. In 2005 they unleashed a package of reforms with the Orwellian moniker of ‘Workchoices’ that were designed to reduce the power of unions, phase out collective bargaining and water down rules regarding unfair dismissal. This was a major reason for the government’s defeat in 2007.

  21. @AW
    Many thanks

  22. @Amber Star – “… there are potential Labour seats in there, are there not?”

    Potential Labour seats according to Electoral Calculus, in the South (excluding London), given current polling trends:

    Basildon South and East Thurrock
    Brighton Kemptown
    Brighton Pavilion
    Bristol North West
    Bristol West
    Chatham and Aylesford
    Dorset South
    Filton and Bradley Stoke
    Great Yarmouth
    Hastings and Rye
    Milton Keynes North
    Milton Keynes South
    Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
    Portsmouth North
    Reading East
    Reading West
    Somerset North East
    Swindon North
    Swindon South

    (btw some may not actually be in the South ;) someone can correct me)

  23. @ Anthony

    Corby is in the East Midlands
    Bugger! Half my family live in Northampton & I thought that they lived in the South; now I find out they’re in the Midlands. :-)

    When I first started hanging around UKPR, I spent ages trying to find a list of which constituencies made up ‘rest of the south’ in YGs polls & eventually gave up.

  24. If “Eastern” qualifies as “South”, I’ll add Bedford, Norwich North, Norwich South and Waveney to the list. Otherwise take out Great Yarmouth and the others.

  25. @Ambivalent – essentially I am at one with @Amberstar on this. I see no realistic prospect of a Tory breakout from their heartlands in 2015. On the contrary, they will need to devote resources to protecting their own marginals as well as fight to make gains they failed to achieve in 2015 if they are to have any hope of a majority.

    In my view, the circumstances for detoxification have passed, the opportunity for the great breakout has been and gone, the Tory right has not been tamed (only a centrist led outright majority would have done that) and the Tories 2010 performance has confirmed that for the foreseeable future, large parts of the country that they need some presence in for a majority, remain outside their grasp.

    In 2010 Cameron was around 20 seats short of an outright majority, and he would really want another 15 seats at least to feel reasonably comfortable. That means holding every single seat he’s got and taking 35 more. Wilson managed 48 net gains from government in 1966, and Thatcher +37 in 1983 – just barely what Cameron needs in 2015, in quite exceptional circumstances.

    To create a stable majority they really need to hold the gains and add to their rather good Welsh performance from 2010, pick up at least half a dozen seats in Scotland, make quite a few gains in the north and perform better in London. All the polling evidence and evidence from the locals suggest that this isn’t going to happen. I remain completely firm in my view that we won’t see a Tory majority in 2015.

    The Scottish position is in my view the best illustration of why we won’t see a Tory majority any time soon. In the 38 elections from 1832 – 1979 they averaged 21 seats in Scotland, only getting single figures on 5 occasions, only three of those being in the C20th and the last being in 1918. They actually won 27 Scottish seats in the rout of 1945.

    In 1983 Thatcher won 21 seats followed successively by 10, 11, 0, 1,1,and 1. No Tory majority government has ever been formed without their Scottish seats being in double figures, and on only one of these occasions was their majority sufficient to last a parliament (1987). For the rest of the C20th, Tory majorities always contained at least 20 Scottish MPs.

    By contrast, Labour has recovered remarkably well in it’s heartlands and the local elections suggest that gains may well come in the south. The split of any lost Lib Dem votes will be important, and I’m not assuming Labour majority is the most likely outcome, but I see a Tory majority as the least likely option.

  26. Tiz all so confusing! Wikipedia blames it on the ancient kingdom of Mercia.

    So does East Anglia come under ‘rest of the South’ ? In which case many Easterly bits are in a more Northerly location than many chunks of the ‘Midlands’.

    I’ll put the kettle on and have a think.

  27. @Billy Bob/Amber

    I think it’s always important, as you both have done in fairness, to qualify this generalisation that the South of England is a Tory fiefdom. The rural and suburban parts are strongholds, admittedly, but London and the southern cities and large towns most certainly are not and, in good years for Labour like 1966, 97 and 2001, these are very winnable seats for the party.

    The 2012 local elections suggest Labour is flickering back into life in some of these areas of the South and, in doing so, they strengthen the argument that they are, in essence, the only truly national party remaining in Great Britain.

  28. OK, so a big chunk of LDs have gone because of the manifesto betrayals and aren’t coming back since the trust is gone, so Labour have that in the bank.

    The economy is poor and with most of the cuts still to come it is unlikely to perform great in future plus more jobs to be shed and cuts in services. No one believes the “all in this together thing” any more, the deficit is barely any better than Labour’s plan only without the growth, Tories snuck in the NHS thing cynically, they’re forcing free schools down people’s throats, done hardly anything about the banks, screwed up the budget again and again, were embarrassed over the Murdoch thing time and again, the Chancellor’s barely on the scale in approval terms, they couldn’t even get a majority in the first place, they whacked up tuition fees, they want to privatise stuff and yet time again we see what a shambles that is, G4S being the latest in a long line so could someone please explain to me what in the hell Tories are going to do to offset all that to win the election?

  29. I think for OleNat England and Wales are the rest-of-the-south, so it probably depends on your perspective

  30. @Billy Bob, Amber,

    Is that assuming a UNS on current national polls? From recent polls, it seems that the Tory vote is holding up rather better in the south than the rest of the Uk. That was my point.

    Of course, it is more than possible that Labour could still win a majority in 2015 even if the Tory vote holds up rather better than the UNS suggests. But my main point was that it is much harder to gain more seats in your heatlands – which for Labour is Scotland, Wales and the north – than it is to gain seats where you are not currently doing that well and there is great scope for improvement.


    I agree that a Tory majority (assuming current boundaries) is very unlikely. I think the Tories would actually do extremely well to be the largest party giving the current economic crisis, dire GDP figures, widespread cuts etc. Labour should win a comfortable, if not, large majority in 2015.

  31. @CrossBat,

    Labour’s performance in the south of England has been rather disappointing given their polling in the rest of the UK. Beyond the inner cities (where they already hold lots of seats) and a few very working class towns (with high unemployment) like Harlow, I can’t really see them making much in the way of significant inroads. A few marginal seats may well turn Labour, but I very much doubt a ‘highly’ significant number of southern England seats will change hands in 2015. Unless the Tory vote collapses further, which is more than possible, of course.

  32. There has been much talk in Conservative circles that this next reshuffle is Cameron’s last chance to turn things round.

    The Independent seems very confident that David Laws will make his return, with a ‘roving brief’ to firefight coalition clashes… attending cabinet, but not as a voting member:


    Danny Alexander would stay at the treasury but more than likely surrender his influential place as fourth member of the Quad to Laws.

    Cameron has long lamented the loss of Laws, who was seen as the real glue which bound the coalition together… indeed some Tories in parliament suggested the whole idea was cooked up months in advance of the GE on long train journeys Laws and Letwin shared on their way home to the West Country.

    For Conservative commentators (D’Ancona in the Telegraph) top priority is that a way be found to bring LDs into line on the reduction to 600 MPs.

  33. Yeah I can’t see the Tories shedding much more. They’ll continue to look after the boomers, and when you factor in those in more protected sectors, people who stand to gain from privatisations etc, it’s probably pretty stable.

    Cutting regs etc; may not do much to help the economy much but small business people will like it all the same.

    UKIP is an interesting factor though, because some Tories may be twigging that for all the bluster, just maybe a party funded by big business may be actually rather comfortable with Europe and immigration.

  34. @ Ambivalent

    From recent polls, it seems that the Tory vote is holding up rather better in the south than the rest of the Uk. That was my point.
    Indeed it is; but so is the LibDem vote. And the South seems to be the only place where the LD vote is holding up. That means the Tories will not do a great deal better in the South than they did in 2010, based on current polling of course.

    The collapse of the LDs benefits Labour almost everywhere else.

  35. @AnbivalentSupporter

    Look at Labour support in the 2010 GE

    SW: 15.4%
    SE: 16.2%
    E: 19.6%

    And Conservative:

    SW: 42.8%
    SE 49.9%
    E: 47.1%

    My guess is that the Tories will make gains against LDs, but will lose a large number of their marginal seats to Labour.

  36. @ Billy Bob

    I read both those articles. Starting with the Laws one, I think that creating a special cabinet role for somebody who cheated on their expenses because he is gay, whilst the gay marriage debate is causing controversy, it is another spectacular error of judgement by David Cameron.

    Some Tory backbenchers will be furious that the LDs are getting an extra cabinet member; if David Cameron seeks to defuse this by saying: “He’s one of us”, it will go down like a lead balloon with the right of his own Party & the left-leaning members of the LibDems will also be extremely displeased.

  37. I mean, to put what I was saying into context, in 2010:-

    Labour won just 2 out of 58 seats in eastern England.

    Labour won just 4 out of 84 seats in south east England.

    Labour won just 4 of 55 seats in the south western England.

    Even in the west Midlands, it managed just 24 out of 59 seats.

    Even in the east Midlands (where Corby is), Labour won just 15 out of 46 seats.

    Labour’s only good performance came in London, where it won 38 out of 73 seats.

    So out of a total of 375 seats in the southern half of the Uk (including east and west Midlands), Labour won just 87 seats. It won just 10 seats in southern England (outside of London) and (including London) 48 out of 270 seats. Put simply, in 2010 London and parts of the Midlands were the only parts of the southern half of England where they were able to win seats.

    To optimise its chances of getting a reasonable working majority in 2015, all this means that they would want to increase their vote and seat gains significantly in southern England, including outside London. It is, of course,more than possible that Labour will achieve this, but according to polls this is still one geographical area that remains (relatively) elusive to Labour. Labour would undoubtedly make gains in the south on current yougov (and other) polling, but unfortunately tthe Tory vote is holding up much better in southern England than it is (generally) in the rest of the UK. Will this change in the remainder of this parliament? It might well do.


    There are 270 southern England seats (which doesn’t include the Midland seats), which if you do a bit of basic arithmetic makes up a lot more than 25% of the total UK seats. Not sure where you heard the 25% figure from, but it is clearly wrong. It actually equates to just over 41.5% of the total Uk seats. That demonstrates my point that Labour really can’t afford to ignore the south if it wants a decent majority going forward.

  38. @Amber,

    “Indeed it is; but so is the LibDem vote. And the South seems to be the only place where the LD vote is holding up.”

    On south west regional polling last year, they found – like in the local elections of 2011 – that many of the south west seats held by the Libs would now turn blue. A lot of the Libs seats are down in the south western corner, so it will be interesting if they hold onto them with strong competition from the Tories. It doesn’t necessarily follow that Labour will be the only ones to benefit from a Lib collapse! We simply don’t know yet.

    “That means the Tories will not do a great deal better in the South than they did in 2010, based on current polling of course.”

    Very few people claim the Tories will be doing better in 2015 than in 2010. In 2010 they won 191 out of the 270 southern seats, and 255 out of 375 if the Midlands is included. That really shows you the extent of their current domination, especially away from the Midlands.

    To win a decent working majority in 2015, Labour needs to target (and win back) many of these southern seats and perform a southern swing in line with what the national polls are showing at the moment. But at the moment, the polls show that the increase in Labour’s vote isn’t nearly as strong in southern England as it is nationally (especially away from parts of the Midlands/inner city London).

    Winning Corby comfortably will be a start, but there is still much work for Labour to do to win a good, stable working majority.

  39. Will the Gove situation have an affect?

    I for one would like to see cross party consensus to stop grade inflation and allow higher education and then employees to truly identify the cream of the crop, but I wonder if we are past the point of no return on that?

  40. @ Billy Bob

    D’Ancona in the Telegraph is pushing the state funding thing as being a way to persuade the LDs to back the boundary reforms.

    The state funding thing is instinctively anethma to many Tories. I think they are almost as likely to rebel on this as on Lords reform.

    I also believe it could cost them votes at the GE. There would be a huge incentive for UKIP to field candidates & work their @sses off to get as many votes as possible; an offer to withdraw to allow a Tory candidate to win would be unlikely if points means cash prizes!

    The other problem is, of course, that a move to state funding of Parties is expected to have all Party support. To change it in such nakedly political circumstances, without Labour’s agreement, would pretty much give Labour carte blanche in the future to unilaterally change the rules as soon as they get enough votes to do so.

    Furthermore, unless there’s a significant recovery for the LibDems, they can expect to have their lowest vote for years at the next election, thus the benefit to them of state funding on a per vote basis will not be nearly as attractive as it was in the past.

    So, having thought about it, I do not think this idea is going to fly very high, to be honest.

  41. @Amber Star

    The mystique about David Laws being so effective seems to rest (in the words of a source close to him) on his ability “to stick his nose in everywhere. That’s why he liked being at the Treasury.”

    But that has to be considered in the context of a very short period in the immediate afterglow of the Rose Garden declaration.

    It sort of undelines the perception that they cannot go forward, but must try to go back. Paul Goodman seems to think that Cameron can only maintain his leadership position by locking the Conservatives into a coalition relationship through to 2015 and beyond.

    A return to a Laws/Clegg axis would also, as you suggest, create considerable strains within the LDs.

  42. @Amber,

    I agree about the state funding thing. I don’t think it’s nearly attractive enough for the Libs to pass the (disadvantageous) boundary reforms.


    UKPR has refused to load at points today.

    Then the Captcha Code wouldn’t display properly-then Submit wouldn’t function.

    It all seems to have settled down a bit now-but still loading very slowly.

    Has any of this been at your end please-or is it me?

  44. @ Ambivalent

    Since the poll which was closest in time/ result to the 2010 GE the Tories have, compared to today:

    Scotland down 2%
    RoS down 4%
    North down 4%
    London down 10%
    ML/W down 15%


  45. @ Ambivalent

    There are 270 southern England seats (which doesn’t include the Midland seats), which if you do a bit of basic arithmetic makes up a lot more than 25% of the total UK seats.
    Excluding London, as YG does, I have RoS as 197 seats.That’s around 30% which is a bit more than 25%, obviously, but not earth-shatteringly more. :-)

  46. New poll out today in Sweden:

    ‘Social Democrats drop sharply in polls’

    The Social Democrats have dropped heavily in the latest voters’ poll, falling by 4.5 percentage units to 34.3 percent, as voters chose the Left Party instead.

    The shrinking support for the Social Democrats is partly explained by a significant rise in voters who would choose the Left Party if the election was today. The left-wing party has increased its support by 1.8 percentage units to 6.2 percent.

    Others who formerly sympathized with the Social Democrats are now uncertain of where their allegiance lies, as the category “uncertain” has ballooned up from 11.9 to 15.1 percent.

    Among the currently governing centre-right parties, not much has changed.

    … The only statistically certain change is the shrinking support for the Social Democrats, and the Left Party’s growth.

  47. NickP

    I don’t think it’s that surprising that the Rest of the South is so out of kilter with the rest of the UK, it’s the Conservative base after all.

    In 2008/09 when the Conservatives were polling at their highest Scotland was seen as out of kilter, even in the 2010 election, Scotland was the only region which actually saw a swing to Labour putting it out of step with the rest of the country.

    In reality there is no Kilter, the country is extremely polarized, along the famous North/South divide. South West, South East and East are all Tory. Scotland, the 3 Northern regions, London and Wales are all Labour regions. The only 2 that change and have a big impact on the outcome of the election are the East and West Midlands!

  48. “Labour will struggle to win the next general election outright and should be ready to go into coalition with Liberal Democrats, according to a former Cabinet minister.
    Ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said voters were increasingly “promiscuous” and single-party government could be “the exception rather than the norm in future”.
    In a new section for the paperback edition of his memoirs, Outside In, Mr Hain wrote: “That means Labour needs to fight harder than ever for every vote in order to win elections.
    “But it also means the Party must accept that coalition politics may become a semi-permanent fixture in British parliamentary democracy, just as it has in local government.”


    I wonder why he is so downbeat, given the OPs.?

  49. @AmbivalentSupporter – “Labour needs to… perform a southern swing in line with what the national polls are showing at the moment.”

    This discussion has arisen from a measly 28% xbreak for Labour in the rest of the South.

    28% would be substantially up on the 2010 GE (10+%), and more in line with their performance (though it’s not easy to tabulate for all the different regions) in 2005 and 2001. The 1997 GE had Labour polling between 21-32% across Southern regions (excluding London and East Anglia).

  50. @ Colin

    I wonder why he is so downbeat, given the OPs.?
    An ex-Labour cabinet minister saying Labour are going to win an election would not generate much media interest in his book. ;-)

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