The post-speech polls

The first poll conducted after Cameron’s Europe speech, YouGov’s on Friday, didn’t appear to show any impact on voting intention. However, this weekend we have a further four polls conducted after the speech (the Opinium one was mostly done prior to the speech). Here they are:

Angus Reid/Sunday Express have the Conservatives on 30% (up three) and Labour on 39% (down three) – the online version of the article doesn’t mention the UKIP or Lib Dem scores. The poll was conducted on Thursday and Friday.

ComRes/IoS/Sunday Mirror has the Conservatives up 5 on 33%, Labour unchanged on 39%, UKIP down 4 points on 10%. As I wrote yesterday, some of this appears to be due to ComRes treating likelihood to vote differently in their December poll, but even with consistent treatment of likelihood to vote the poll would have shown the Conservatives up 4 or 5 points, though it would probably also have shown Labour down slightly.

Survation/Mail on Sunday has the Conservatives on 31%, up two, Labour unchanged on 38% and UKIP down two on 14%.

YouGov in the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 41%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 7%. Compared to the average of YouGov’s polls last week that equates to the Conservatives being up by about two, Labour down by about two and UKIP down by about one.

In each individual poll the changes are relatively small, but they are consistent across the pollsters, so we can be fairly confident that the Conservatives have enjoyed a small boost from the referendum promise and the positive publicity around it. UKIP appear to have dropped slightly, but not massively (the biggest drop they had, that in the ComRes poll, was mostly due to methodological variation). The shift is hardly a game changing degree though.

Looking at the other questions, there is some stark variation in how people say they’d vote in an EU referendum. YouGov’s figures are very similar to what they were showing early in the week – in a straight referendum question 37% say they would vote to stay, 39% say they would vote to leave. If David Cameron were to renegotiate and recommend a yes vote then 50% of people say they would vote to stay, compared to 25% who would vote to leave – the contrast is almost entirely down to Conservative voters, who would currently vote to leave, but would vote to stay on renegotiated terms.

Angus Reid asked how people would vote if Cameron did manage to repatriate some powers, 34% said they would vote to stay in, 34% said they would vote to leave.

Survation found 50% saying Britain should leave the EU, 36% that they should stay. If Cameron wins back some powers, 43% of those saying Britain should leave say they would consider voting to stay.

408 Responses to “The post-speech polls”

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  1. Shift in You Gov 2010 Con defectors to UKIP since 23 Jan Poll:-

    Down 6 to 12

    2010 Con retention shift since 23 Jan :-

    Up 6 to 80

    Well done DC.

    Will it stick though?

    Farage “targeting Labour” now !-every little helps I suppose.

    Need Q1 GDP growth now.

  2. Blair says he agrees with 90% of DC’s speech & wants to help keep us in.

  3. Like Paul Croft I was wrong about the polls, four out of the five are more positive for the Tories and one not. The latter was carried out before the speech and the GNP numbers. I expected the polling to get worse due to the publicity of the GNP numbers especially by the BBC, offsetting any bounce due to Cameron’s referendum speech.
    Looking at the YouGov figures I wonder if the sample is a bit of an outlier, if not then it is very encouraging for the Tories, there is even a small movement positive movement for them on the economy which looks odd. The next few YouGOV polls will be very interesting.
    On the economy I wonder if employment figures resonate more with the public than GDP figures. The increase in vacancies to the highest level for 4 years and the increase of 113,000 in full time jobs were very encouraging.
    On Europe it does look as though the public liked the offer of a referendum and thought Labour were wrong to oppose it.

  4. Colin
    As I said in the previous thread, UKIP trying to take on Labour would be a huge tactical mistake on their part, given the current make-up of Labour voters (see Lord Ashcroft’s polling).
    However, if they do it, this makes the Conservative party’s job a lot easier as UKIP is unlikely to make any gains and any attacks on Labour benefit the Tories.

    If I were Cameron, now that UKIP have been effectively neutered, I’d focus on splitting the left.

    Push for televised debates for the 2014 European elections (a good reminder of Miliband’s tactical blunder on the referendum) – and then hold TV debates in England, Scotland (assuming they’re still in the union) and Wales, inviting each party that has MPs in parliament (which also prevents UKIP from appearing).
    Allow the Greens, SNP and PCY attack Labour from the left in their respective countries while attacking Labour yourself from the right.

    And most importantly, try to force Labour to the right on social issues and on spending in an effort to dislodge the ex-Lib-now-Lab (without which, Labour would be polling in the low-30s).

    Interesting subpolling from YouGov (although as always, warning: subsamples).
    VI for those with/without children under 18 –
    With – Con 33, Lab 51, Lib 8, UKIP 4
    Without – Con 36, Lab 38, Lib 13, UKIP 8
    I suspect this is largely demographic – with older voters less likely to have children under 18.

  5. “and then hold TV debates in England, Scotland (assuming they’re still in the union) and Wales”
    should read ‘and Wales in 2015..’

  6. I recommend everybody read the headline article in The Economist this week around Cameron and Europe. Completely unpartisan publication, which on balance thinks it is a gamble that might just pay off.

    As I said before, we have a real choice at the next election, which is good for democracy. People talk about hard times now, but under 13 years of Labour my council tax went up by roughly double the rate of inflation every year. One period saw it have 5 years of 5% rises. In the last two years it has been frozen by the Tories, which I fully welcome, even if it means a reduction in local spending.

  7. @Alec

    I suspect UKIP’s very clear approach on immigration which resonates with a lot of the population is why their vote has only declined a little.

  8. @Richo

    You are right when you say that there will be a real choice at the next election, but it may not be as clear as all that as I expect a U Turn by EM at some point in time on the rferendum issue.

  9. Richo

    The economist might not be the sun but to say that is non partisan is a bit of a leap, I was a regular reader for many years and they do most certainly have an agenda

  10. Just a reminder of the Lord Ashcroft numbers, from July this year –
    Ashcroft split voters in to Individualists, Strivers, Anxious, Liberals and Dependents –
    Labour in 2010 had 12.8 of total voters coming from Liberals and Dependents (the ‘traditional left’), 10.2 from the anxious and a combined 7 from Strivers and Individualists (the ‘traditional right’).

    This compared to the Conservatives, who had 3.9 from Liberals and Dependents, 6.1 from anxious and a whopping 27 from Strivers and Individualists.

    UKIP are aiming for Strivers and Individualists.

    So skip ahead to 2012 –
    Labour gets 19.5 (+6.7) from Liberals and Dependents, 12.9 (+2.7) from the anxious and 8.9 (+1.9) from Strivers and Individualists.

    So Labour gained largely from ‘the left’ – and if it keeps only it’s gains in that area, it starts on 36.7%.

    So we could, if the Tories are able to gain back Strivers and Individualists from UKIP and Labour and potentially more from elsewhere, a Tory party easily out polling Labour – but it’d be pretty futile for UKIP (who’re aiming for Tory voters) to go after Labour’s gains when Labour’s gains are largely from people who wouldn’t vote UKIP.

  11. I’m amazed that no one has questioned David’s misuse of the office of prime minister. It’s one thing for the pm to set out the govt’s policy but to use the office of prime minister to announce his party’s policy when other members of the govt disagree would be unthinkable in any other coalition govt in Europe.

  12. @RiN

    Why should we behave like Europeans?

  13. Let’s not get so excited about all this, hey, although I can imagine why some […] will be reading “Cameron triumph” into some of this early polling post the Referendum announcement. If there was something seismic going on here I’d expect the big shift to occur in the immediate aftermath and, as I’ve said before, there is no evidence whatsoever in any of these polls to suggest that the Tories have enjoyed a significant boost at all, not even one on the scale that they got when Cameron brought home his veto in late 2011.

    In the four polls published today the Tories average about 32% and Labour 39%., although I gather that the latest Opinium poll has Labour higher and the Tories lower. In summary, I thought Anthony had it about spot on:-

    “In each individual poll the changes are relatively small, but they are consistent across the pollsters, so we can be fairly confident that the Conservatives have enjoyed a small boost from the referendum promise and the positive publicity around it.”


  14. It seems like the Yougov Friday poll lulled Labourites into a false sense of security. Seems like the earlier predictions of a, possibly temporary, drop in the Labour lead have come true. So for labour punters it is back to the plan B that the drop in lead will not last.

    I tend to agree that it will be a temporary bounce and I still believe that Cameron has played his trump card too early because over the next two years people will be asking what progress he has made on renegotiation and it will become clearer what his priorities are for the powers he wants to bring back and I suspect these will be on workers rights rather than immigration which might resonate more. It also only needs one example (which can even be manipulated by Labour) where some multinational has decided not to invest in a new car plant or whatever to convince the electorate that the 5 year tactic has backfired.

    The next fortnight’s polls will be very interesting.

  15. Interesting to compare the current bounce (2-3 points within a few days) with the one that Cameron got from his veto (sic) in Dec11 (4-5 points within a few days).

    This puts things in perspective. One might have thought that a cast-iron promise of the vote that the British public is demanding (apparently) would be a game changer. But the effect on VI appears to be less than the boost Cameron got after Sarkozy refused to shake his hand.

    Two thoughts.
    1)This appears to confirm the hypothesis that Europe is a second-order issue when people decide their VI.
    2) Cameron overplayed his hand 13 months ago and disappointed those who immediately responded to the dog whistle. Consequently, he’s into diminishing returns territory on Europe.

    What he probably HAS done of course is to buy himself some time from his Right. But having now played his one and only Fil Rouge, there’s no obvious sign that he has transformed the prospects for GE15. And going on last year’s experience, the remorseless, glacial grind of shocking economic news will rapidly wear down the current bounce.

  16. @CROSSBAT11

    I don’t understand your comment, I cannot see anybody claiming seismic movement. What is a surprise though is that the movement has been towards the Tories when most, me included, were expecting a movement to Labour due to the GDP figures. Hence my comment that YouGov may be an outlier and my query about employement statistics possibly resonating more than GDP figures.
    What is clear from YouGov though is that people like the idea of a referendum and think Labour are wrong to oppose it. Hence my expectation of a U Turm by EM at some point.

  17. Apart from a probable small boost to the Tories (largest Tory VI this year), there is nothing to indicate anything has happened. LAb, LD and UKIP are all within moe for the last couple of weeks.

    We need another week’s data, then maybe we can start to say something.

  18. Toh

    There are times when we shouldn’t behave like other Europeans, like pushing folk into ovens en masse. But when they have an example of acting with integrity it might be nice to follow suit. But what the other Europeans do is neither here nor there, DC has misused his position IMO and I’m still surprised that no one has pulled him up on it

  19. As I said before, we have a real choice at the next election, which is good for democracy. People talk about hard times now, but under 13 years of Labour my council tax went up by roughly double the rate of inflation every year. One period saw it have 5 years of 5% rises. In the last two years it has been frozen by the Tories, which I fully welcome, even if it means a reduction in local spending.

    -And inflation has risen at more than double the rate of pay rises in the private and public sector since 2010.

    People across the main income scales (50% tax rate earners excluded) are getting poorer at a rate not seen since Pre Second World War.

    Back on topic the polls have shown a small return of Tories from UKIP, not surprising but no significant impact on Labour support.

    The temporary “bounce” appears to be smaller than that when Cameron had His last European hissy fit.

  20. Was just thinking how key polling is to party fortunes in terms of party unity and the overal impression the electorate has of the party.

    Ed Milliband came to lead the party with a lot of Labourites being very uncomfortable and feeling they had made the wrong choice. The fact that the polls have been so good to Labour has meant they seem like a united party and the Blairites (if indeed it is them who would have been the ones criticising) have been pretty quiet. I think the same was true during the Blair years where Labour members were just delighted to be back in power after 18 years and grateful to anyone who had achieved this.

    Contrast that with the Tory party where sections of the right (and some on the left) have been vocally critical of Cameron.

    The only ones who don’t seem affected by any of this are the Lib Dems who seem to have an amazing unity despite facing a heavy defeat in 2015.

    You just wonder if there were no opinion polls what the difference might be in noise levels among dissenters and actually the ultimate difference there would be in party unity.

  21. @ TOH

    I wonder if the GDP figures you mention are factored into these polls. Very poor circumstantial evidence seems to suggest that the EU speech took from Wednesday to Sunday to filter through given the poll on Friday showed no change. So maybe either fieldwork or basing your opinions on the Saturday newspapers or Friday headlines when you get in from work is too soon to take GDP into account.

    I always feel that it is not necessarily the figures themselves that cause the public to change their opinion, it is the reaction to those figures so Boris calling for more investment or whatever may be more of a key gamechanger than the ONS reading them out.

  22. So, basically, as most on here predicted…

    CON have regained about 3 or 4 % from UKIP.

    Put another way, the mainstream Conservatives have regained 3 or 4% from the right wing Conservatives.

  23. I think @Crossbat11 is correct – a small poll boost, but as yet, nothing earth shattering. One of the downsides of watching polls closely is that we do get too excited about relative small moves, especially when the background position has been stable for some time.

    I also think talk of UKIP targeting Labour is nonsense. Many people mock Farage, but I think he is a smarter political operator than he is given credit for. UKIP read the situation well, and I believe have been operating on the assumption that Tories will seek such a referendum. They have therefore known that they must broaden their appeal away from just demanding a vote on the EU, and indeed, away from the European issue itself.

    In recent months they quietly (or not so quietly) targeted traditional Tory voters over key policy concerns (immigration, gay marriage, tax etc) and this has paid off handsomely. More significantly, it looks very like they have opened up channels of communication with Tory activists and MPs. They have prepared for this announcement for a long time, and have greatly strengthened their defence.

    The bit about going after Labour voters is a classic bit of TV bluster from a party leader. Unless you are Mitt Romney, you never say you’re going to ignore any section of the electorate, and you always play the game of claiming you are seeking votes from every section of society, but people on UKPR really should know the difference between bluster and realpolitik.

    A second thought that keeps going through my head is what I think is a mistaken notion that Cameron is a strong strategic player and that this referendum policy is an example of this.

    Even ardent Tory supporters have been baffled by some of Cameron’s strategic twists and turns. While I don’t necessarily blame him for wanting to ‘share the proceeds of growth’, a cannier operator should have carved out a stronger message on government spending and efficiency, ready to capitalise on any change in circumstance with a politically coherent message that could transfer from good times to bad. Has anyone recently heard mention of ‘Big Society’, for example? We know the knots he got himself into over cast iron pledges on Lisbon, but there are many other minor examples.

    Cameron is good at the fast adjustment and short term manouvere, but this is often at the expense of the long term position. I strongly feel that this is what we have seen here. Repeatedly we have been told by the great and the good that Cameron has outmanouvered Milliband and that Labour are on the wrong side of the argument, only to find that Milliband’s strategic position has been far more sure footed than Cameron’s.

    I think we’ll see that again here, I don’t think UKIP have anything much to worry about, and I think this last week makes a Labour win more, rather than less likely.

  24. The Other Howard


    Why should we behave like Europeans?


    Let’s see….

    1. Taiwan is an island off the Asian continent. But still part of Asia. Hence the Taiwanese are Asians. Hence the Taiwanese “behave like” Asians.

    2. Madagascar is an island off the African continent. But still part of Africa. Hence the Malagasy are Africans. Hence the Malagasy “behave like” Africans.

    (See the pattern?)

    3. The UK is an island(s) off the European continent. But still part of Europe. Hence the British are Europeans. Hence the British “behave like” Europeans.

    In short, the British are European. And, however they behave, they do indeed “behave like Europeans”.

    Any more troubling questions of that nature?

  25. That Old Bloke

    Very fair summary, but it has wrong footed Labour.


    Hence my comment that the next few polls will be very interesting. As for comments from Boris, I don’t think they will have much impact. he actually pulled back latter the same day. Just confirmed to me why he would not make a good leader, whereas Osborne’s determination gets full marks from me.

  26. Looks like there may have been a modest increase in Conservative support after all. I think the Tories will be back to 33-34% by the end of the week, and Labour’s lead will probably even out at 8% or so IMO.

    The next 12 months should make for interesting polling. The speech boost is unlikely to last, but it will make some Tories feel more hopeful. If nothing else, it has silenced the more rebellious Tory MPs, but would Cameron be able to deliver? I am sceptica,l as always.

  27. @That Old Bloke


    I asked why behave like Europeans because I feel I have littlein common with Europe but a lot in common with the USA, Australia, New Zealand etc etc.

  28. “The economist might not be the sun but to say that is non partisan is a bit of a leap, I was a regular reader for many years and they do most certainly have an agenda”

    I agree. The Economist may not be as biased as many newspapers, but it definitely does favour some parties (and leaders) over others. In the past, it supported Labour (and Tony Blair); now it seems to lean towards the Tories (and DC).

  29. On The Economist, as I stated, I have from time to time read all the main broadsheets, but putting it simply, the articles are just really well written in The Economist. I honestly dont detect much bias. The only other paper that comes close for me on the quality of writing is The Telegraph, but of course that does lean to the right.

    Not sure what has happened to the Independant by the way, some of their online writers blogs are hard left bordering on socialist.

  30. There’s also a Macbethian Panelbase poll out today.

    Yes 34% No 47%

    Holyrood constituencies

    SNP 45% Lab 33% Con 13% LD 5% Oth 5%

  31. @Richo,

    “On The Economist, as I stated, I have from time to time read all the main broadsheets, but putting it simply, the articles are just really well written in The Economist.”

    I agree. It’s a great newspaper. Less biased than other newspapers too (even if I can detect a current slight favouring of DC and the Tories, but it’s more marginal than most). You get the feeling with the Economist that political support is more conditional and less ideologically driven than most other newspapers.

    The quality of many of the articles is first class too.

  32. I think there is quite a lot in the premise that regarding the public, GDP numbers pass them by whilst unemployment resonates. The latter affects them directly or via someone they know,the former is something remote which they don’t understand.

  33. @ Lefty

    “Interesting to compare the current bounce (2-3 points within a few days) with the one that Cameron got from his veto (sic) in Dec11 (4-5 points within a few days).”

    A lot of people on here are talking about a small bounce but taking the polls above:
    Sunday exoress- 6% lead cut
    Independent- 5%
    Mail on Sunday- 2%
    YouGov- 4%

    That feels to me much more like the 4-5% you are talking about in the Veto change The difference is that the veto bounce put Lab and Con neck and neck. This time Lab still has a significant lead with the feeling among some (including me) that it may be short lived.

    Then we are back to arguing what sort of lead Lab should have at this stage of a parliament, but I don’t hold with any view about traditionally needing a big lead as people return to the fold- especially this time around with economic timing being bad for the Tories and the switch of Lib Dem to Labour.

  34. @ TOH

    “I asked why behave like Europeans because I feel I have littlein common with Europe but a lot in common with the USA, Australia, New Zealand etc etc.”

    None of the above countries have much interest in football so I doubt I would have much in common with them :-)

  35. [snip – AW] I see a general acknowledgement here that the Labour lead has been cut by the speech and its aftermath and a reasoned debate over whether and how far there will be a small but lasting effect at the margins.

    As someone who has generally supported Miliband’s approach hitherto I reserve the right to criticise him from time to time.

  36. There’s that 35 / 41 prediction of mine. It just took three days to turn up. Ahh, the satisfaction of getting a prediction right (probably the first and the last).

  37. Surely Cameron`s strategy is to keep up the party`s poll ratings and morale high till the economy picks up and the announcement should be seen in that context.

    We enjoy @Crossbat 11`s amusing hyperboles and it`s a bonus that he supports Labour

  38. @Old Nat

    Thanks for your response on the previous thread. Labour up another 2 points to 49% in the Scottish subset.

    It’s a remote piece of speculation, but might a pro-EU SNP voter (at Hollyrood) switch to a Labour VI for Westminster with the thought of squelching a Europe referendum – insurance against the worst of all worlds, stuck under Tory rule in a UK isolated from Europe? Especially in the case of no boundary changes, a good showing for Labour could make a difference. No doubt you keep a better eye on those x-breaks than me, is the YouGov sample yielding any trend atm?

    Other than that the Tories (and LDs) seem to be doing reasonably well in the small YouGov 18-25 sample. Overall this poll could be a prefiguring of what many expect of a general election, UKIP returnees to Con, and a bit of drift back to LD from Labour.

  39. Dismissing these polls on the grounds that Cameron’s veto bounce proved to be temporary seems a pretty weak argument. The veto bounce was in response to a “here today, gone tomorrow” issue and lasted only as long as the EU summit remained in short term memory. In complete contrast, Cameron has ensured that the issue over whether to hold a referendum will be a salient one in 2015. It will, over the next two years, be eclipsed by other issues and always by the dominant issue of the economy, such that it will be henceforth difficult to isolate its impact on VI. But I think in 2015 we can rely on it being one of several campaign issues that are secondary to the main issue of economic management. Given the evidence from these polls that the EU issue has the capacity to shift VI, it will at the margin contribute to the eventual outcome.

  40. @SHEVII

    Your probably guessed, football does nothing for me but i love Rugby Union and Cricket!

    I am also very proud of British history.

  41. @Phil Haines

    Agree with that, not a big bounce now but set the scene for the election. If Cameron can get better control on immigration the two together could be a big factor although of course you are right the economy is the make or break factor.

  42. @Billy Bob
    I think thats already happening, in terms of people seeing Labour as the best place for anti-tory votes at Westminster, but prefer SNP at Holyrood.

  43. @ Phil Haines

    I was relieved to see that Labour’s 2010 support was back to 91% in the YG Sunday Times poll. I was concerned about the anomaly which you noticed in Thursday’s poll; it’s still a little under par so we’ll need to keep an eye on it over the next week or two.

  44. TOH

    “More in common with USA etc”

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Like way-ta-go Howie !!!!
    Get in the hole !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is, like, so AWEsome.


    “Like PaulCroft I was wrong”

    Bleedin’ cheek: I wasn’t wrong – they answered the questions wrong and I can’t be helld responsiblle for that.

  45. I congratulate the PM on his success. Small it may be but he had to lance the UKIP boil for a while.

    Of course it makes absolutely no impression on the eventual outcome of a GE but with Spring conferences in the offing, something had to be done.

    Good summary by AW and others here; i doubt if we are looking at a game changer, any more than the ‘veto’ bounce.

    I am intrigued and mystified about the proposed EM U turn. When has he said that he would not hold a referendum on a substantial change to the treaty -or is it that he has just been misreported? He rules one out on the present treaty it is true (when I use singular I am of course referring to the accumulated treaties).

    We must remember that Labour (nor Lib Dems) will ever seek to opt out of the WTD. So what is EM supposed to seek a change for? The PM has not yet said what he is seeking to change, apparently.

  46. I think all three main parties can take positives from the latest polls:-

    1) The Tories – Up on pre-speech polls.
    2) Labour – Labour vote is largely/totally unaffected by the Cameron speech bounce.
    3) Lib Dems – Up too.

    The effects are likely to be short-term…..I guess, the real question is whether the EU issue will have any affect on polling come 2015. If so, how much affect, and to whom?

  47. Good Afternoon All.

    Time will tell over the European issue. I think, though, that the PM looks like a leader, and Ed Miliband has come across as being wrong footed. He was trapped over the veto question in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

    Petrol and Diesel have just risen in costs, however, and the AAA rating may go. The Economy is the long term issue.

  48. @ Smukesh

    Surely Cameron`s strategy is to keep up the party`s poll ratings and morale high till the economy picks up.
    Surely Cameron`s aim is to keep up the party`s poll ratings and morale high until this Tuesday when there’s the boundary change vote! Until Wednesday past, I think more than a handful of his own backbenchers would’ve rebelled; now I think he’ll get his reward & if any defy the whip, it will only be one of two.

  49. Shevii

    I meant the increase in Tory VI rather than the change in the gap between Con & Lab. Take out the ComRes poll because of the change in methodology and no-one has a Tory VI increase >3%. Whereas in the aftermath of the Dec11 veto (sic), Tory figures with YG rose from 35-36 to 40-41 and the lead went from Lab 4-7 to Con 1-3.

    So the Dec 11 veto produced roughly twice the change in VI that last week’s speech did. As I say, diminishing returns.

    TOH. You say that “the public” liked the idea of a referendum. In terms of effect on VI, surely you should have prefaced that with “2-3% of…”

  50. @Amber,

    The boundary vote is less important than making his backbenchers and party more united IMO. Very few now think the boundary changes will happen anyway…even Cameron is probably dragging the vote through for strategic(and other) reasons.

    Above all else, Cameron needed to keep his MPs happy. The question is will his renogiation strategy work (if, indeed, he wins in 2015!), and will he be able to pacify them on other issues in the meantime issues as well?

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