Lord Ashcroft has a new batch of constituency polls out, this time looking at ten Conservative held seats with majorities of around 9% to 12% – seats that would need a Con>Lab swing of around about 5% to fall to Labour. Full details are here.

National opinion polls are currently showing a swing of around 4 percent from Conservative to Labour, so on a pure uniform swing you’d expect these seats to stay Conservative. The average swing in these polls was 3.5%, so very much in line with that. In practice though there is variation between seats, so Ashcorft did find three seats in the sample where Labour were ahead – Crewe and Nantwich, Finchley and Golders Green and Milton Keynes South. This sort of variation is inevitable, and in terms of the overall impact on seats will be counteracted by seats that Labour should be winning on a uniform swing, but where Ashcroft has found the Conservatives ahead, such as Kingswood and Blackpool North.

It is difficult to analyse the variation between seats too much – in some cases they will be genuine, and we can come up with plausible reasons to explain them (are Labour getting a bigger swing in London, for example, or is Crewe and Nantwich seeing a gradual unwind from the by-election?), but remember each constituency poll is just one poll with the normal margin of error. The fact that a poll in one seat is showing a swing that’s three percent bigger than a poll in another seat may just be normal sample variation between polls, and nothing to do with the situation on the ground.


330 Responses to “Latest Lord Ashcroft constituency polls”

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  1. After seeing the FInchley&GG swing, and hearing that swing in London might be a bit higher than UNS, what are the chances of Ilford North being in danger?

  2. Ok, comparing to the EF Nowcast

    EF / Ashcroft CVI

    Cleethorpes Con +1 / Con +2
    Crewe and Nantwich Con +4 / Lab +3
    Dover Con +1 / Con +8
    Dudley South Con +2 / Con +4
    Finchley + GG Lab +5 / Lab +2
    Harlow Con +7 / Con +10
    MK South Con +6 / Lab +2
    NE Soms. Con +2 / Con +16
    Rossendale & Darwen Con +3 / Tie
    S. Ribble Con +3 / Tie

    Seems again to be a mixed bag with some large relative swings (which might of might not be partially sampling error, where there is a large discrepancy it’s likely the real position is somewhere in between)

    With 10 seats, there’s a 40% chance at least 1 is breaking the 95% CI (which is 5.2% see previous thread for my post of the MOE of leads)

  3. Matthew- I would have thought that Labour consider themselves in with a shout in both Ilford N and Enfield Southgate (I thought both constituencies would be out of reach for them in 2015).

  4. There was some discussion on the previous thread on Labour’s potential strategies in Scotland. personally I think they have two viable options:

    1) Stay the course – continue to act as a GB party and try to explain why Scotland is better off looking outwards rather than inwards and wait for the people to come back around to the idea.
    2) Set LiS free.

    I think option 1 is better – it might not be popular at this election but in the long term it allows Labour to be a party of principle and values. If Labour want to win in Scotland in the future they have to be clear on the essential differences between nationalism and internationalism, and between democratic socialism and social-democratic liberalism. Despite what some on here seem to think I doubt that the SNP’s popularity is going to last forever and LiS have to be ready to take their supporters back – they can’t do that if it looks like they don’t stand for anything.

    Option 2 is viable but it does sort of concede to the SNP’s argument the LiS are just a branch office, and weakening the link between LiS and LiW&E would potentially make future Labour governments less stable.

    The third option that people have proposed – trying to outflank the SNP by offering Scotland more and more pork – is IMHO a loser. It weakens Labour in England and Wales, and more importantly it won’t work. If Labour start a pork-barrel arms race the SNP are always going to win because they can promise the people of Scotland whatever they want ‘once we’re independent’. If Labour go for this it’d be a triumph of tactics over strategy.

  5. well the manifestos of the main two are out now,I think the polls by the end of this week,should show where we may end up.If the Tories are going to get their boost,they are pretty much going to want to see it soon.Ed will keeping his fingers crossed to that he can keep around that magic 35%

  6. So, can anything meaningful be concluded from the observation that poll volatility seems to be increasing as we get closer to the election?

    Is this just because there is more polling, or does it say anything about underlying voting intentions?

  7. Pleased to see Jacob Rees-Mogg doing much better than expected – I don’t agree with his policies but he does have character and a bit of an independent streak that we need a lot more of.

    Those contact rates are interesting

    The 3 seats with a Labour lead:

    Finchley & Golders Green, 34% Con, 60 Lab!
    Milton Keynes South 43% Con, 74% Lab
    Crewe and Nantwich 41% Con, 59% Lab

    It does make you wonder what the Conservatives are doing with money advantage everyone was talking about a few months back if they can’t contact more than half the people in marginal seats.

  8. @FUNTYPIPPIN

    “There was some discussion on the previous thread on Labour’s potential strategies in Scotland. personally I think they have two viable options:
    1) Stay the course – continue to act as a GB party and try to explain why Scotland is better off looking outwards rather than inwards and wait for the people to come back around to the idea.
    2) Set LiS free.
    I think option 1 is better”

    ————

    Option one only works if Labour can offer Scots peeps summat better for Scots’ interests than SNP can offer. Which is tricky since Labour have to keep the rest of the UK happy, not just Scotland, and devolution etc. means Scots can more easily risk a Tory govt.

  9. @Richard. How do you know the contact rates?

  10. @Cover Drive

    Ashcroft also asks people if they have been contacted in his polls.

    ….

    TNS GB poll

    LAB 32% (-1),
    CON 34% (+4),
    LIB DEM 9% (+1),
    UKIP 14% (-5),
    GREEN 5% (+1),
    OTHER 5% (-2)

    http://www.tnsglobal.com/uk/press-release/election-race-close-but-public-think-tories-will-be-largest-party

  11. Cover Drive

    from the polling The Good Lord provided us with

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CampaignActivity-1024×465.jpg

  12. Smithy (fpt)

    Welcome! Your posts did eventually appear.

  13. @Funty

    I should further add that Labour can argue till they’re blue in the face about the virtues of collaborating in the Union, and some Scots may agree, but still vote SNP to get a better deal for Scots, while still voting no in a subsequent referendum on Indy.

    Thus voting SNP becomes a valid choice even for the pro-Union types.

  14. In other words, two things conspire to give the SNP the upper hand: the greater decoupling of the Scots from Westminster, and the decoupling of the Independence issue from voting for the SNP. People can vote SNP without fearing who gets elected at Westminster, or that voting SNP automatically means Independence.

    Perhaps ironically, if one is worried about Independence, then it would make more sense to vote against SNP at Holyrood, while still voting SNP at Westminster to secure more concessions for Scots…

  15. FUNTYPIPPIN
    If Labour want to win in Scotland in the future they have to be clear on the essential differences between nationalism and internationalism, and between democratic socialism and social-democratic liberalism.

    If Lab are internationalists, why don’t they make a start by campaigning for a federal EU replacing all the current member states and handling all defence and foreign affairs? Would they want FFA within that federation?

    In your opinion, where did the 1997-2010 UK government come between democratic socialism and social-democratic liberalism? Where would you have liked them to be?

  16. @carfrew re: “greater decoupling of the Scots from Westminster”

    Nicola Sturgeon has recently said that she had only met Ed Miliband once in her life before the seven-way debate. That struck me as quite extraordinary, given that they have both been pretty senior politicians for about 10 years. I don’t think this is a function of Sturgeon being a nationalist, as I suspect that the number of meetings between (say) Carwyn Jones and senior Tories at WM is pretty low as well.

    It seems to me that, with the way devolution has been constructed, we have separate political spaces in Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont, with very little interaction between each. This cannot be healthy, regardless of your political view.

  17. After a flurry of Labour leads we’re now seeing the reverse happening! LD’s on 9 with TNS as well. []

  18. Get the impression that it’s a very Thatcher ish manifesto in terms of style and presentation. All Union flag, defence and security, relying on the assumption that Cons can run the economy and therefore not need to explain where the money comes from.

    It comes across as far more positive than Labour’s efforts yesterday, but I’m interested in the next few hours to hear what people like the IFS say about the potential costs.

    The right to buy bit is currently being roundly trashed by all manner of groups with detailed knowledge of housing and homelessness, which doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t good politically.

    I’m expecting Cons to do quite well from the twin manifesto launches.

  19. TNS-BMRB poll CON 34% LAB 31% UKIP 14% LDEM 9% GRNS 5%

    Today the blues have it.

  20. ALEC

    They are after the ‘kippers.

  21. @bantams

    TNS CON 34%, LAB 32% looks unremarkable but according to NC the +2 Tory lead is the biggest TNS has found in the whole Parliament. It’s also the first CON 34% they’ve reported in all of 2015 and 2014.

    Finally, check out the TNS house effects for the Tories
    http://www.electionforecast.co.uk/graphics/2015_house_effect_plot.svg

    A boring poll on the face of it, but quite significant if we see other polls telling a similar story

  22. Inflation figures out:

    CPI 0 (actually -0.01 if you want to squint carefully enough before screaming deflation deflation)
    RPIJ 0.3%

  23. BARBAZENZERO
    If Lab are internationalists, why don’t they make a start by campaigning for a federal EU replacing all the current member states and handling all defence and foreign affairs? Would they want FFA within that federation?
    Because they have to win elections. In the long term that’s a policy I (and probably a good chunk of the party) would support, though it’s sadly not a policy that’s currently inside the Overton window. Regarding FFA I can’t speak for Labour as a party, but personally no, I wouldn’t want the UK to retain full fiscal control if it was part of an EU superstate because it doesn’t make sense economically.

    In your opinion, where did the 1997-2010 UK government come between democratic socialism and social-democratic liberalism? Where would you have liked them to be?
    I’d say it was a mixed bag and not one I was particularly happy with – it was social democratic but not particularly liberal. I joined the Green Party before I turned 18 and didn’t leave until well after Gordon Brown had left office, when I joined Labour. I would’ve preferred to see them on a more socialist platform, and still would, on top of the large leftward shift they’ve taken in this parliament.

    I don’t really see why my personal political beliefs are relevant though. I could be an SNP member or a Tory or a Bus Pass Elvis voter and I’d still think it would be a bad idea for Labour to start a bidding war in Scotland.

  24. “if you want to squint carefully enough before screaming deflation deflation”

    ———-

    I can scream it without squinting, if that helps any. Except that many carfrew-critical things are not deflating. Storage went up again recently. I dunno if it’s in their basket of goods, but given storage use is increasing…

  25. Did TNS change their methodology recently or have I made that up?

  26. @JAMES

    “Nicola Sturgeon has recently said that she had only met Ed Miliband once in her life before the seven-way debate.”

    ———-

    The simple solution to this is to have a lot more debates. (Which should additionally happinate those who can’t get enough of Kay Burley…)

  27. With regards to the ‘aspirational’ RTB policy I don’t think the Conservatives have checked the 2011 census data on tenure nor the opinion polls.

    In 2011 there were 23.4 million households: 15.0 were owner occupied and 8.3 million rented. The rest lived ‘rent free’!

    Between 2001 and 2011, of those renting there was a 1.7 million *increase* in those renting ‘privately’; whilst there was a 100k *fall* in those renting ‘socially’.

    In 2011 18% of households rented ‘socially’: but 17% rented ‘privately’. Those figures are quite likely to have crossed over in the concomitant 4 years.

    Home ownership- whether for themselves (and currently privately renting) or for their children/ grandchildren consistently appears in the top 5 of issues for families and individuals.

    IMHO this is not a Thatcherite policy in the way 1980s RTB was for aspirational working class families often sited in quite appealing locations. Most social housing tenants these days are a quite different geodemographic/ socioeconomic bunch.

    A really eye catching policy and one that IMHO could have had a major impact would have been something that appealed to FTB. For example compelling mortgage companies to offer 100% LTV mortgages (subject to applicant annual income and credit checks). That would have swung votes amongst a population more likely to be registered to vote/ willing to vote.

    As it is the only party proposing to help out those privately renting is the Labour Party !

  28. The TNS GB poll Scots crossbreak is rarher similar to their Full Scottish (given the different weightings and filters employed).

    Party : Full Scottish : GB SVI : GB CVI

    SNP : 52% : 44% : 47%
    Lab : 24% : 26% : 23%
    Con : 13% : 18% : 16%
    LD : 6% : 9% : 6%
    Grn : 3% : (reallocated to 2nd choice SNP/LD in crossbreak)
    UKIP 0% : 3% : 4%

    There does seem to be some sign that some Tories (as identified by GB SVI) might be voting tactically – but not necessarily for Lab v SNP. That’s a possibility that might be worth keeping an eye on.

    IN GB poll, Scots Definite/Probably voting is 92%, 10 points ahead of the next largest S/SE England at 82%

    94% of Scots say they are registered to vote (probably true since those on last year’s referendum roll were transferred to this year) : most English regions are on 91%-93%, while in London (unsurprisingly) only 88% say they are on the roll.

  29. FUNTYPIPPIN
    In the long term that’s a policy I (and probably a good chunk of party) would support

    OK, as would I. The indy debate involved arguments re whether, if it achieved EU membership, Scotland would be “ruled” by Brussels. I suspect many SNP members would agree with us.

    it was social democratic but not particularly liberal.

    Agreed again. I was an old Liberal supporter but couldn’t stomach the SDP merger. Now even the remnants of the old Liberal party have gone Unionist in the Jo Chamberlain sense, as have the LDs.

    I don’t really see why my personal political beliefs are relevant though. I could be an SNP member or a Tory or a Bus Pass Elvis voter and I’d still think it would be a bad idea for Labour to start a bidding war in Scotland.

    Fair enough. I can’t help seeing from some of your posts that you are of the Left but wasn’t clear whether you were writing as a Lab member or a concerned observer.

  30. Report from an uninteresting constituency.

    The first Conservative leaflet arrived (by post …, obviously using the electoral roll). It is professionally laid out, and candidate specific (nothing about the national party or national leaders). It concentrates on education, fairness, and entrepreneurship (to create jobs) with a little bit of high speed rail connection. Nothing more specific on these.

    An A5-size part is about warning against EM getting in No 10 by being propped up by other parties (it has NC’s picture, but a Cable reference, and AS is on it rather than NS), although with a heavy emphasis on the SNP. I guess this part is standardised central office design.

    The candidate is upper-middle class and professional, which may have some appeal in some of the wards.

    He may get 10% (depending on the distribution of the former LibDem votes between the Conservatives, UKIP and Greens.

    The Green Party one has also arrived (hand delivered). It is better laid out than the previous one. Strong emphasis on their candidate being an ex-Labour person, who left because of Iraq and New Labour (in this order), and also on compassion. On the last page some spurious statistics (using EP Elections suggesting the Green Party can win here, and some anti-austerity bit.

    I guess the Greens may not lose their deposit – it depends on picking up ex LibDem votes.

  31. *TNS

  32. @Lazlo

    If the Greens hold onto a good few deposits, that will be real progress from 2010.

  33. I don’t see any instant condemnation from rival parties of the Con manifesto, as there was yesterday of Labour’s, not on the BBC front page anyway.

    I wonder why, and is this a sign of a ‘careful Ed’ who is planning a more considered reaction, or is it just incompetent dither?.

  34. @ CMJ

    Yes, and I think they will perform better in the local elections than in the national (as here we have both).

  35. Where is Ukip VI piling up?

    After a fair amount of clerical work I am now in a position to benchmark the various public projection models against this morning’s batch of Ashcroft polls.

    In this comment I’ll focus on systematic biases shown by the various models and in a later one I shall look at their overall accuracy.

    May2015 only gives projections for the top two parties and showed no systematic biases in these figures.

    The other three models all systematically and reliably overestimated current levels of Ukip support (ElectionForecast (EF): +3.1%; YouGov Nowcast (YGN): +6.0%; Electoral Calculus: +2.2%). This pattern was also seen with last week’s batch and for EE and EC has been evident in most other batches as well. (The bias was reliably reversed for EE with the January batch of Scottish seats).

    This has now become a very reliable pattern. Ashcroft is not finding the level of support out there that all the models are projecting. As I indicted last week, this suggest that the Ukip support is being squeezed in the Lab/Con marginal that Ashcroft has been polling recently. Since the models use national and regional polling data, their systematic overestimates suggest that the Ukip support must be piling up in other parts of the country: presumably in parts of the South East where they are strongest (and where there have been relatively few recent constituency polls). If this analysis is correct, then it may present a problem for the Tories in some of these seats. Given that Ukip support doesn’t seem to be as high as expected in Con/Lab battleground seats, it would be useful to find out which types of constituencies are attracting the higher levels of support suggested by the national figures.

    With the present batch of polls, neither EE nor EC showed no other biases. In particular, for both models there was no sign of the systematic pro-Labour bias I identified a couple of months ago (a bias that was not apparent in re-polled seats). I have no idea why these models seems to have become more accurate in this respect.

    YGN understated the Tory VI by a reliable 4.4%: a pattern that was also seen last week. Based on the small amount of benchmarking I have been able to do, the results indicate that the model is underestimating Tory support by quite a noticeable margin. If the same thing is happening in other seats, it is possible that the model’s seat projections may be over-generous to Labour.

  36. “Pleased to see Jacob Rees-Mogg doing much better than expected – I don’t agree with his policies but he does have character and a bit of an independent streak that we need a lot more of. ”

    Somewhat surprising myself, I agree. JRM is the kind of MP that I fundamentally disagree with on almost everything, yet I’m pleased to see a few people like him in parliament.

  37. Laszlo
    Feel free not to answer but what constituency do you live in? I’m guessing from your previous posts that its Liverpool Riverside maybe?

  38. Looks to me that Labour’s mini-bounce last week is over, back to neck and neck now.

    Is there a ComRes poll due tonight?

  39. @ Bramley

    Thanks, interesting article.

    He says local authorities “expect” to only replace half or fewer properties under the current scheme. I have to ask why that is and what are they doing with the income. If a well run private company was involved with this they would make damn sure they had a constant supply of replacement properties in the pipeline.

  40. FUNTYPIPPIN
    “The third option that people have proposed – trying to outflank the SNP by offering Scotland more and more pork – is IMHO a loser. ‘

    It depends on the pork, or rather it depends on offering something different, which provides a specifically Scottish solution to Scottish issues, and the rest of the UK with a pilot.
    E.g. dividing the poorly justified and little understood or regarded overseas aid budget, as I have suggested earlier, to tackle poverty and the causes of poverty and fundamentalism in Scotland as well as directing aid specifically to countries such as Pakistan.

  41. @Carfrew

    “Option one only works if Labour can offer Scots peeps summat better for Scots’ interests than SNP can offer.”

    In terms of pork barrel politics at least, for every one vote that might be won in Scotland from an extra bit of financial inducements to benefit the Scots, there are nine votes that might be lost in England from the hostile reaction here.

    Neither a Labour-led or Conservative-led government would even consider such a suicidal course, whether as a majority, a coalition or a minority government. And there won’t be an SNP UK government to make such an offer.

    Ed Balls was in town here yesterday and is quoted unequivocally in our local paper to that effect – i.e. that Scotland could not expect any special favours at the expense of the West Midlands.

  42. “Somewhat surprising myself, I agree. JRM is the kind of MP that I fundamentally disagree with on almost everything, yet I’m pleased to see a few people like him in parliament.”

    ———-

    Be quite nice to have some politicians I agreed with as well though…

  43. @james

    It does make you wonder what the Conservatives are doing with money advantage everyone was talking about a few months back if they can’t contact more than half the people in marginal seats.

    I put something about this in a comment yessterday but I think it may have been modded. In essence I think the Conservatives have less ‘ground troops’ and are having difficulty bedding in their new electoral IT system.

  44. @Rob Sheffield

    A blast from the past! How are things?

  45. @ Rivers10

    It is, good thinking.

  46. BRISTOLIANHOWARD
    “I don’t see any instant condemnation from rival parties of the Con manifesto, as there was yesterday of Labour’s, not on the BBC front page anyway.”

    Where are you looking? I’ve seen condemnation from Ed, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

  47. Comparing Yougov nowcast to latest Ashcroft polls

    Latest Ashcroft vs Yougov nowcast

    **** = Ashcroft result outside nowcast range

    North East Somerset
    Con 31-43 (44) ****
    Lab 30-43 (36)
    UKIP 8-16 (9)
    LD 4-10 (10)
    Other 2-7 (9) ****

    Cleethorpes
    Con 29-41 (38)
    Lab 28-41 (36)
    UKIP 26-38 (15) ****
    LD 2-7 (6)
    Other 2-6 (4)

    Crewe
    Con 31-43 (38)
    Lab 32-45 (41)
    UKIP 10-19 (13)
    Other 3-9 (2) ****
    LD 2-7 (4)

    Dover
    Con 32-44 (40)
    Lab 31-42 (32)
    UKIP 16-26 (20)
    Other 2-6 (4)
    LD 2-6 (3)

    Dudley South
    Con 27-43 (39)
    Lab 28-43 (35)
    UKIP 24-38 (18) *****
    LD 2-8 (3)
    Other 1-6 (4)

    Finchley & GG
    Con 33-45 (41)
    Lab 33-45 (43)
    UKIP 8-16 (6) *****
    LD 3-7 (6)
    Oth 3-7 (4)

    Harlow
    Con 30-44 (44)
    Lab 30-44 (34)
    UKIP 16-28 (16)
    LD 1-6 (3)
    Other 2-7 (3)

    Milton Keynes South
    Con 31-42 (37)
    Lab 31-41 (39)
    UKIP 14-22 (10) ****
    LD 3-7 (8)
    Other 3-7 (6)

    Rossendale
    Con 28-40 (42) ****
    Lab 31-44 (42)
    UKIP 11-20 (8) ****
    LD 3-8 (4)
    Other 3-8 (3)

    South Ribble
    Con 32-44 (39)
    Lab 33-45 (39)
    UKIP 12-21 (12)
    LD 2-6 (8) ****
    Other 2-6 (3)

    In summary
    UKIP still seems to be overstated in Yougov nowcasts – below the nowcast range in about half, and towards the lower bound in most of the others. I think this continues to support a theory of a larger UKIP squeeze in Lab/Con marginals vs nationally.

    I think this has to be good news for the conservatives, considering they are not really campaigning hard, if they can get some canvassing going, they should be able to squeeze some more of the still high UKIP vote and I would expect it to move more in their direction considering past vote. But that is a big if, it looks like they are having problems getting enough people on the ground generally.

    The Nowcast did not really do well in picking up the North East Somerset very different swing( due to either popular incumbent, or if you read the seat level comments on this site, local labour/ local people don’t like their London based candidate so are not pushing him, probably the latter looking at that large green score). So we can still expect some surprises.

  48. After skimming the manifesto it’s pretty much what I expected to see

    […]

    I honestly don’t see it having much effect on VI… the media attention will probably help (or not), but it’s just more building on their fundamentals with some extra positive language.

  49. @Bristolianhoward – Labour are playing the ‘unfunded/unbelievable’ line very strongly.

    Theyve already briefed that they believe the RTB policy will increase housing benefit claims by c £4b, as low rent properties will be sold and replaced with ‘affordable’ homes, with much higher rents.

    Interestingly, the Guardian also picks a hole in the minimum wage/no income tax thing. It looks like the policy is based on those on MW based on a 30 hours week. Calculated on a more normal 40 hour week, it looks like Cons will have to increase the tax threshold by £500 above what they have pledged and bring it forward in the parliament. Potentially, this will cost billions.

    The Chartered Institute of Housing is dead set against the Tory RTB plans. That doesn’t look very good.

    My gathering impression remains that Cons will probably come out best from the launches if we look solely at the immediate aftermath of the launches.

    However, if Lab maintains there advantage in terms of contacts with voters, I suspect there is more than enough doubt that can be sown in the minds of key voters to negate the positives arising from this launch.

    Having said all that, yesterday my initial impression (without watching the launch itself, as today) was that Labour did well. By the 10pm news, I thought it hadn’t gone so well.

    This is a longwinded way of saying I haven’t a clue about anything.

  50. Decided to run the latest Prof Curtice Poll of Polls numbers through the Scotland Votes calculator:

    SNP 48% 53 seats +47
    Lab 27% 5 seats -36
    Con 15% 0 seats -1
    Lib Dem 4% 1 seat -10

    The 5 holds for LiS are:
    Glasgow North East
    Glasgow South West
    Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
    Rutherglen & Hamilton West
    Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill

    East Renfrewshire predicted to fall to SNP on these numbers.

    Not looking pretty reading for Jim Murphy or LiS.

    Personally I’d expect LiS to do better in some of the Edinburgh seats than the Scotland Votes UNS model suggests but potentially do worse in some of the Glasgow seats if this national polling is correct.

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