The Times have a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s paper, conducted after Wednesday’s budget. It’s not good news for George Osborne.

Every budget has positive and negative parts, and it’s the same here: some parts of Osborne’s budget are popular, some aren’t. Increasing the personal allowance is popular (83% say its a good idea), as is cracking down on international tax avoidance (81%), freezing fuel duty (74%) and the sugar tax (62%). People are more divided over the increase to the higher rate threshold (46% say it’s good, but 37% the wrong priority), and are negative about the cut in corporation tax (32% good idea, 43% wrong priority). The worst ratings are for the cuts to disability benefits for people reliant on aids or appliances. Only 13% of people support the disability cuts, 70% think they are the wrong priority at the present time, including 59% of Tory voters.

Budgets are more than just the sum of their parts of course. After each budget YouGov ask the same question about whether people think the budget was fair or unfair, this year 28% thought the budget was fair, 38% unfair. Both of last year’s budgets were seen as more fair than unfair, so were the budgets of 2014 and 2013 (past figures are all here). You have to go all the way back to 2012 to find the last time an Osborne budget was seen as unfair… the omnishambles budget. That is not a good precedent.

Meanwhile voting intention stands at CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 16%. This is very much in line with the ICM poll earlier in the week that had Labour and Conservatives equal. People were understandably wary of reading too much into one poll, but we now have two polls both showing Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck, suggesting something is genuinely afoot.


548 Responses to “YouGov/Times budget polling”

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  1. First??

    It’s going to be a very long summer for the Tories. Cracks and splits over Europe, mini rebellions over disability welfare cuts and Labour have pulled back the Tory lead.

  2. ALLAN CHRISTIE….Indeed it will be a long summer, luckily for the Tories, they have over 4 years to put it right, a long, long, time, a lot of limoncello over the tonsils. ????

  3. The 4 question marks represent a lemon emoticon graphic. :-)

  4. KEN

    Yes 4 years is a long time but we do have an EU referendum fast approaching and I dread to think what the fall out from that will look like.

    The cracks are already appearing in real time results

    Liberal Democrat GAIN Aylsham (Broadland) from Conservative
    Aylsham (Broadland) result:
    LDEM: 48.0% (+17.1)
    CON: 37.9% (+5.5)
    LAB: 14.1% (-8.0)

    Okay you can’t read local election results as a barometer for national polls but it’s another loss for the Tories at local level.

  5. Seeing BBC Papers; why does Osborne keep announcing things in his budgets without checking for support first? I mean he announced funding for disability – again, has he forgotten how budgets work.

    Wednesday – Chancellors Message (or Shadow)
    Day Two – Analysis
    Day Three – We see what’s going to run throughout the next week and few months

    He was lucky last year with Chairman Mao but Labour are starting to target weaknesses and Osborne’s lost some authority over Tax Credits. Ultimately he folded to party criticism despite the party voting for them and almost passing them had Labour blocked them.

    Time to pull their socks up because I think their not quite ticking those boxes they sold at the election.

  6. Tories also lost a council seat in Lancashire to Independent

  7. I thought at the time that ICM were far too quick to rubbish their own poll!

  8. The biggest shift to UKIP, Labour are up but only to 1992 levels. Also remember even IDS had a few poll leads

  9. Labour are still below 1992 levels when they managed 35.2% in GB – though ICM has put them on 36%. I am sure we need to make some allowance too for the fact that national electoral support has become much more fragmented compared with 1992.

  10. Kinnock got 34% in 1992 the LDs 17%, they are now less than half that. The big change is UKIP which is hitting the Tories as EU ref looms

  11. For those outwith Scotland, who still see Scots politics as “really about Westminster”, the 2015 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey may be illuminating.

    https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/public-trust-scottish-government-three-times-higher-uk-counterpart#.Vur0zyi5cmo.twitter

    “73 per cent of people trust the Scottish Government, compared with 23 per cent who trust the UK Government.

    The Scottish Government was also more trusted than the UK Government to make fair decisions, with 49 per cent backing it, compared with 18 per cent for Whitehall. The survey found that 34 per cent of people trusted their local council to make fair decisions.

    While roughly equal proportions said the UK and Scottish Governments have the most influence over the way Scotland is run, with 42 per cent for the UK and 41 per cent for the Scottish Government, 76 per cent thought that the Scottish Government should to have the most influence, compared with 14 per cent who chose the UK Government.”

  12. This must be the collapse in Labour’s support I’ve been told to expect, thanks to Corbyn.

  13. Is this the first YG poll of GB on Westminster VI under the new methodology?

  14. “I thought at the time that ICM were far too quick to rubbish their own poll!”

    ————-

    Well yeah, hadn’t there also been another poll showing a shift to Labour, even though it didn’t have Tories and Labour neck-and-neck?

  15. @Peter Cairns

    “And just remind us which UK parties were it that were prepared for a Banking crash.”

    —————

    Well, yes, I am aware that certain other parties were caught cold without a response when the Crunch first hit, it’s just that it wasn’t germane to my point. Which was that NuLab were effective electorally with a fair wind, but not effective electorally when things became a bit sticky.

    I’m not sure that NuLab economic policy was simply a case of triangulating Tories, I get the impression they believed in that economics. If they didnt believe and were more suspicious of it, they’d have taken more precautions regarding banking etc.

    Following the dot com crash, when Gordo along with other nations acted successfully to stave off economic calamity, they prolly thought they had things figured out on the boom and bust front.

    It’s also the case that the development of derivatives and their use in pricing risk led peeps to think risk had largely been eradicated as an issue. Many seemed to buy into this…

    …Which was effing clueless, because it didn’t take into account things like mis-selling and gaming the system.

  16. So a sharp movement to labour in pre budget polls, along with an unpopular budget. I suspect these movements have caught some people by surprise – myself included.

    It is interesting that this coincides with the start of the EU in-fighting, but also a few weeks where Labour have not been fighting themselves quite so visibly. Some messages to learn from all round, I suspect.

  17. @ALEC
    I suspect these movements have caught some people by surprise

    Not everyone. A few people have been predicting a shift on the basis of Tory splits over Europe. But it’s still early days. We can’t be sure this represents a genuine shift, let alone a long term one.

  18. Watching Corbyn wreck Osborne was quite amazing.

  19. Apart from that heavily concealed and disguised partisan bit of me which is allowing myself a bat squeak of pleasure from these polls, I’m inclined to ignore them in the way one used to rather discount weather forecasts in the early days of meteorology. Interesting, but likely to fairly inaccurate! There are a lot of Michael Fish-esque psephologists around these days! I’ve lost faith in them, to be honest and this will remain the case until I’m convinced otherwise by events.

    On a different subject, I was saddened to hear about the death of Cliff Mitchelmore the other day. I know he had many and varied strings to his bow, and most of his obituary writers forgot that he occasionally presented Match of the Day in its very early days, but his political reporting was an absolute model of what genuine impartiality is all about. He didn’t make the mistake, like Neil and Paxman and many others. of thinking this was about arguing with and hectoring politicians, or baring scarcely hidden partisan teeth, he exemplified real impartiality and balance instead. If he had political views, they were never displayed or shared.

    I mourn his loss as a person but also because of what he represented in terms of political broadcasting from a long gone gentler and fairer time.

  20. “Watching Corbyn wreck Osborne was quite amazing.”

    I also thought it was a very effective soundbite. Needs much more substance though to really matter.

  21. @Alec

    “Some messages to learn from all round, I suspect.”

    I imagine the missives to the Guardian and the New Statesman from the PLP demanding that they run more articles on how horrible Corbyn is are already flying in

  22. HYUFD
    ‘Kinnock got 34% in 1992 the LDs 17%, they are now less than half that.’
    Those are UK figures . On a GB basis – which is what the pollsters measure – Labour polled 35.2% in 1992.

  23. @Alec

    Yes. I personally suspect Europe has little to do with it as it would be illogical to shift from CON to LAB because you think the former are too divided/Cameron’s too pro-European when the latter are even more divided and more pro-European.

    Labour’s infighting has indeed calmed somewhat since the January reshuffle (which I admit may well have been a more successful exercise than it seemed at the time). Though the rows continue it is now at the level of Westminster bubble stories that most normal people will hear nothing about and we are no longer hearing shadow cabinet members arguing over the airwaves. It must also be said (something that may be uncomfortable for moderates) that Corbyn and McDonnell have not changed Labour’s policy, or even their rhetoric, very much so far. A combination of these two things may make them seem slightly less unelectable than they might otherwise have been at this stage, though down the road I still think they are on course for a very bad ending.

  24. Not a good poll for the Tories, with Labour apparently in the lead. Meaningless of course this far out from an election. However looking at the detail in the poll I would have thought the Tories have little to worry about, the majority of budget moves are seen positively and they remain the clear leaders on who is best to run the economy. They do have a problem with the disability cut if “wet” Tories vote against.

  25. All sorts of alarm bells from Yougov for the Tories.

    This is already Osbourne’s second worst regarded Budget – the heir apparent is no longer apparent

    Tories behind AFTER YouGov adjustment.

    Tories behind despite Labour being untrusted on economy (and everything else)

    Scots Tories falling to 15 – vastly overated Davidson about to pay the price for hubris and Tory divisions. SNP continue to prosper.

    Little of this is due to UKIP rise and therefore less to come back

    None of the underlying issues causing this problem are resolved. In fact things can only get worse.

  26. “Meaningless of course this far out from an election.”

    Meaningless as far as 2020 is concerned. But not as far as the narrative of the immediate future is concerned, or the local and devolved elections in May (where Tory hopes were quite high of gains all round except the London mayoralty). Even the EU referendum might be effected if voters want to bloody the government’s nose.

  27. JACK SHELDON

    I hope your correct abut the referendum I would love that.

  28. (reposted from right at the end of a previous thread [which probably no-one got to see] but, I think relevant here. Thoughts?)

    I think the Tory disunity on Europe is having some effect. While Labour also have divisions on the same issue, it is less in the media glare – plus the tory divisions bring back memories of the Major years….which were disasterous for the Tories.

    However, the one issue that I think has had a bigger impact is the £30 cut to ESA.

    There have been a LOT of picture posts on social media singling out individual Tory MPs – stating that they are tories and pointing out that (1) they voted for the cut, (2) that the cut affects disabled people and (3) Said MPs salary and expenses (an issue still sore with the public.

    This has, IMO, been very effective. I would, of course, expect left wing friends to post/share these, but I am also seeing more than a few right wing friends do so as well.

    This has, I think, proven to be a successful tactic that I think has benefitted Labour (even though it almost certainly didn’t come from them), or more to the point, has hurt the tories – perhaps (at least in the short term) badly.

    In the short term, Labour, if it wants to do well, should hammer this issue home.

    In the longer term, the following should be considered…

    * This, a relatively new (accidental) tactic seems to have worked – but, can it work repeatedly over a range of issues?

    * You can bet that the right, as well as the left will pick up on this tactic. How will that pan out?

    * How much will groups (left and right) play a part in this sort of way in future? I don’t know who originally came up with this, but, it was almost certainly not the Labour Party. More likely to be someone like UK Uncut, or maybe even someone in their bedroom angry at their local MP.

  29. I can’t really see an impeccable logical connection between the referendum and Labour’s improvement. But on the other hand, I can’t see any other causal relationships either (apart from the disability shamble, and JC’s new suit).

    So, I’m pretty much agnostic at the moment.

    On the side: I’m glad to see that Ben Nevis is doing better under the SNP Scottish government.

  30. @ Carfew

    ‘…Which was effing clueless, because it didn’t take into account things like mis-selling and gaming the system.’

    Spot on. Jamie Galbraith in ‘The Predator State’ says that the real difference between the Right and the Social Democratic parties is that the SDs actually believed the hype about free markets being ‘self-cleansing’ if left unregulated.*

    *Unlike the average person on the no. 74 bus if they’d ever been told that that was the assumption (IMO).

  31. @ Mark

    There is some academic research on the effectiveness of social media in the formation of public opinion, but they are either conceptual bs (ignoring exceptions), or p value based stats.

    I would believe one if there was an a priori statement (based on a logical frame), then testing it against a later social media surge. However, as negative findings are rarely published, it would still call caution.

  32. Interesting article on the Telegraph website by Labour man Tom Harris this morning.

    Says this poll , whilst good fo Mr Corbyn, is awful for the Labour party as it might mean no challenge to his leadership over the summer.

    Harris reckons Osbourne and Boris will be “laughing their heads off”.

    Brutal, but probably true – for anyone who wants Labour to have a chance of getting into power again.

  33. @Mark

    Sorry, that’s nonsense. I personally disagree with the ESA cut but you are deluding yourself if social media memes like those you describe are reaching anybody but a tiny minority of the population who don’t like the Tories anyway.

  34. @ Crossbat11

    Your tribute to Cliff Michelmore is very welcome .. indeed a gentler and fairer era of broadcasting.

    PS For what it is worth, my anecdotal experience of canvassing in a Tory/LD marginal is that Labour supporters are enthusiastic about Jeremy Corbyn’s election…

  35. But after the 1987 and 1959 elections the Tories managed to stay ahead for 2 years – as did Labour post 2001 and 1997.

  36. @Syzygy

    “PS For what it is worth, my anecdotal experience of canvassing in a Tory/LD marginal is that Labour supporters are enthusiastic about Jeremy Corbyn’s election…”

    ———–

    Out late last night after seeing a gig was invited to join some peeps, and once again Corbyn came up. I didn’t bring him up, I’m from the “never talk about religion or politics” school. (And I’m careful about footie too. Cricket’s OK though…)

    But yeah, Corbyn does seem to arouse quite some enthusiasm. Peeps think he’s genuine. I’m starting to get used to peeps mentioning Corby, but I had a real shock the other day when some student I’d never met before came and sat at my table and started talking about the EU thing.

    All anecdotal, but I’ve never known a time when peeps have been this keen to talk politics. Maybe the net and alternative sources of info is having an effect, because I’m starting to meet peeps who know about Thorium too. Happened again last night.

    No one seems to mention polling though. Or storage. Or Lidl…

  37. @TOH

    “…looking at the detail in the poll I would have thought the Tories have little to worry about, the majority of budget moves are seen positively and they remain the clear leaders on who is best to run the economy. They do have a problem with the disability cut if “wet” Tories vote against.”

    Agree wholeheartedly with your other comment that a poll this far out is meaningless in terms of the GE result – though there are plenty of other elections along the way.

    I’m also totally in agreement with your approach of looking ‘below the headline’ to see how the public are really thinking, as this does seem to be the key to divining how they might actually vote.

    There I part company. Whilst the majority of budget moves are seen positively (8 to 4), one of these is moving to marginal territory – increases to the higher rate tax allowance. I wonder if this will continue to be seen as popular in the context of the continued austerity planned in the forward forecast?

    Of the other popular measures, how many are explicitly Conservative? ‘Cracking down on tax evasion’ and ‘increasing tobacco duty’ are politically very neutral, and the polling has previously suggested Labour are slightly more equipped / inclined to achieve the former.

    So, really, we have ‘increasing the base rate tax allowance’ ‘small business rates’ and sugar tax’ as positive initiatives that are clearly government territory.

    Meanwhile the trend towards scepticism on booze duty freezes noted in previous budgets continues, whilst cutting corporation tax is not viewed well and the two cornerstone announcements of academies and disability benefit ‘reform’ sink without trace.

    By the way – apart from betraying your age – if there are any what you endearingly call ‘wets’ left in Conservative ranks, they aren’t particularly the ones making the noise over PIP, it’s a much broader group than that.

    So, the headline figures on budget reaction are born out by the detail underneath.

    As you say, the ‘trump card’ of economic competence, is still there to play. But it would be very difficult for this Chancellor, indeed, this government, to play it if their core economic strategy of remaining in the EU is defeated at the referendum.

    Yes, far too early to call 2020. But far too early for any degree of Conservative complacency that things are ‘in the bag’. Black Wednesday came early in the 1992 Parliament and despite the best efforts of Ken Clarke the mantle of economic competence was never regained – should a debacle come later, or even ongoing gloom, the next election remains wide open.

  38. @Jasper22

    “…this poll , whilst good for Mr Corbyn, is awful for the Labour party as it might mean no challenge to his leadership over the summer.”

    Strategically, would the best time to even attempt to remove Corbyn by so-called Labour moderates be this summer?

    The government’s travails are likely just unfurling, whichever way the referendum plays out the Conservatives will be left divided and facing a leadership battle sometime before 2020. Moreover, even Osborne and the OBR paint a rather bleak picture for the economy in the middle distance.

    If the vote is ‘leave’ there will be an inevitable marked slowing of the economy in the short term. Boris Johnson, Suzanne Evans, IDS, Douglas Carswell and others have all previously acknowledged (then some retracted) what they regard – hopefully – as the ‘tick effect’, immediate decline followed by longer term faster growth and wealth creation.

    Tick or slump, it will be of little comfort to the party that has to fight the election as government in the likely midst of this economic uncertainty or contraction in 2020.

    So, for the sake of argument, why not let Mr Corbyn have his moment in the sun and, a year or two out from the election, ‘pounce’ when if local / Euros have not been so good and enjoy the pre-election bounce of a new leader?

    Not my place to give the Labour party advice, but why the hurry? This parliament affords so many opportunities for the government to make a hash of it.

  39. @Jack Sheldon

    “… that’s nonsense. I personally disagree with the ESA cut but you are deluding yourself if social media memes like those you describe are reaching anybody but a tiny minority of the population…”

    Hmmm. I’m highly sceptical too about the effectiveness of social media campaigns. As PR by training and profession the PM was spot on in declaring that ‘Twitter is not the real world’.

    But… those figures on disability benefits are startling, especially in the light of years of negative press about all claimants. Something is shifting the public mood and perception – it certainly isn’t press or broadcast media – the formal remain generally hostile and the latter neutered or uninterested. Personal experience? Shared testimony via social media outside of formal campaigns? Campaigns themselves?

    Who knows? The evidence from the US, where a lot more social media investment into political campaigning has taken place is mixed, but I wouldn’t be so quick to right off this communication tool yet.

  40. @Syzygy

    “Spot on. Jamie Galbraith in ‘The Predator State’ says that the real difference between the Right and the Social Democratic parties is that the SDs actually believed the hype about free markets being ‘self-cleansing’ if left unregulated.*”

    ————

    I think some of the right believed it too, and we are seeing a recalibration on the right. Osbornomics these days is somewhat different to how things started out. There’s explicit acknowledgement of the role of the state in investment, in shaping behaviour, etc.

    Tim Montgomerie left the Tories recently. He’s recalibrating too, but still made the error in a piece freeting about the Trump/Sanders thing of equating Capital with free markets. One despairs…

  41. @Assiduosity

    I agree that there is something of a shift in public opinion on welfare cuts, but awareness of the ESA cut (which got little actual news coverage despite the Lords ping-pong and a small Tory rebellion) will have been very low.

    I agree there is something of a shift in opinion on cuts, particularly welfare cuts. Though people have always been less favourable to cuts to disability benefits than cuts to unemployment, housing benefit etc. (i.e. the groups people view as ‘scroungers’). Any change is probably to do with impatience after six years more than anything, and people being intelligent enough to work out that the easy cuts which won’t be damaging must have already been made. Also, it is a terrible look to have the money to do things like fiddling with the 40p threshold whilst cutting benefits from the disabled.

  42. @Peter Cairns

    “Oh just ignore it like the rest of us, paying attention only encourages them!”

    ———-

    Yeah, but I worry in case I missed summat. Good to read different angles in case one is wrong and didn’t spot it.

    Otherwise one ends up like the pollsters, or peeps predicting ninety-plus dollars a barrel!!

    And I like to provide a bit of a flavour from behind the paywall. Colin cites the Times too, but didn’t say ote about Montgomerie leavingleaving the Tories…

  43. This gives some heart to Labour but this is not so much voters pealing off to Labour as from the Conservatives….as far as I recall in the later eighties Labour held small leads but seldom sustained polling numbers above 40%until the PollTax and then the lead melted in the aftermath of Major….ditto for the Conseravtives under Haigue and IDS….but this may help Labour in the local and Assembly elections……

  44. @Assiduosity

    The advantage of removing Corbyn this summer, from the view of the Labour right, is that the next leader then has plenty of time to set out their stall and lines of attack on the Tories. Also a lot of the party’s old guard are keen to see Corbyn gone as soon as possible so that they can get back to their business as usual.

    Their problem, though, is that there isn’t yet an obvious candidate for the party right to unite around, and unless/until the membership becomes disillusioned with Corbyn, a leadership challenge would risk tearing the party apart completely.

  45. @Jack Sheldon

    Agreed. The ESA cut itself, though in some ways more financially deleterious to more people, did go largely unnoticed.

    The point I think I was, perhaps clumsily, making, is that social media are quite good at conveying thematic messages and changing ”mood’ – so, even though there’s scant coverage of the effects of social security changes on individuals in much of the mainstream media – people are becoming more accustomed to getting these stories through facebook and other means, carrying the apparent endorsement of friends.

    A different case, but the way in which the debate around same sex marriage has shifted in the USA is put down by many sociologists and cultural commentators to the ‘facebook effect’.

    Not only were people able to see their ‘invisible’ friends in same sex relationships who were being denied ‘marriage rights’, but they also quickly tuned into how many of their other heterosexual friends supported the cause.

    As I say, this is a different case, but there are parallels – if we move from a position in which those in receipt of social security payments are both (a) invisible and (b) comprehensibly demonised to one in which people identify themselves, friends or relatives as being both deserving of help and negatively impacted by government changes, what had been an abstract political issue becomes personal and ethical not only to those directly affected but the wider community.

    This is the kind of change rather than vote for a, vote for b, I believe social media can bring about, that’s why it may be more relevant here – not to a single policy but to mood surrounding the whole issue.

  46. All very tricky stuff. Should payments to the disabled be regarded as an entitlement which they have simply because of the fact that they are disabled, or should it be only to cover extra necessary costs? Is it ever possible to remove payments from people even if you don’t believe they should have received them in the first place? Should we be reducing the tax paid by many of the striking junior doctors by increasing the 40% limit? This budget business can be complicated.

  47. @Imperium3

    “Their problem, though, is that there isn’t yet an obvious candidate for the party right to unite around….”

    Indeed, as you make clear, a candidate that appeals to the ‘right’ / ‘moderates’ is hardly likely to hold the Labour party together.

    The question surely is whether they can find a candidate of the Labour centre or soft left that the party can gather round and who can appeal, much more importantly, to the country at large.

    Of course, they may have done that with Corbyn. Who, for all the hullabaloo, really is just a leftish Social Democrat (by European standards) with some ‘unusual’ foreign policy and fashion positions.

    That he is regarded as being of the ‘far left’ really is more of a indicator of how our political debate has constricted and become more ‘North American’ over the last 30-40 years.

  48. I think the analysis by AW of reaction to the budget may be most telling -may end up being
    ‘Budgets are more than just the sum of their parts of course. After each budget YouGov ask the same question about whether people think the budget was fair or unfair, this year 28% thought the budget was fair, 38% unfair. Both of last year’s budgets were seen as more fair than unfair, so were the budgets of 2014 and 2013 (past figures are all here). You have to go all the way back to 2012 to find the last time an Osborne budget was seen as unfair… the omnishambles budget. That is not a good precedent.’

    Not a good week for the conservatives and I still think that if Labour wants to increase it’s chances of winning it needs to keep hammering the domestic issues and leave the Conservatives to slog it out re the E.U. May not be noble but sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. I appreciate that goes beyond the perceived wisdom but based on the latest polls it is certainly doing them no harm

  49. @COLIN

    Facts about US Trade with the world which Trump & Sanders talk about a lot ( and about the effects of technology & productivity, which they never talk about) , reveal their scapegoating to have a very narrow focus:-

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/edwin-g-dolan/charts-trump-bernie-free-trade_b_9463410.html

    —————

    Trouble is, these articles themselves have a narrow focus.

    It’s a common thing at the moment, for some to note the Trump/Sanders thing and worry that it embodies a disaffection with current economic arrangements and trade agreements…

    …And in turn get their knickers in a twist over and again over the tariff thing.

    Which can be a bit of a straw man as it may well be that workers aren’t particularly clamouring for tariffs. They might instead be more concerned, for example, with the ease with which foreign companies can buy out their industries, snaffle the tech., close down the factories and reopen them in their own countries perhaps with rather less favourable pay and conditions.

    Even more of an issue when we let them buy up summat strategic and we are left in a difficult position a la nuclear…

  50. If – and it’s still a bit vague – Corbyn is forcing a bit of an alignment, pulling things to the left a bit, then who might be the ideal replacement might be a little different a couple of years down the line…

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