Despite the name of this site in practice it is often more GBPollingReport than UKPollingReport. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of opinion polls cover only Great Britain and exclude Northern Ireland. This is very much a historical legacy – the way things have always been – presumably because of the very different party system in Ulster. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of demand for market research in Northern Ireland, so most pollsters don’t really operate there to a significant degree.

As a result there is very little polling on today’s Assembly election in Northern Ireland. The only company that really does regular political polling is LucidTalk, who’ve done regular Assembly voting intention trackers over the last month or so.

They published a final election poll earlier this week, conducted over the weekend. Topline figures with changes since the 2016 Assembly election were DUP 26.3%(-2.9), Sinn Fein 25.3%(+1.3), UUP 13.9%(+1.3), SDLP 12.2%(+0.2), Alliance 9.5%(+2.4), TUV 4.4%(+1), GRN 3.4%(+0.7). If those turned out to be the result it would suggest comparatively little change since last year’s election – the DUP would have lost votes, but would still be the largest party and are still obviously the dominant force on the Unionist side of politics. Exactly how that translates into seats given the complicated politics of Northern Ireland is a different matter. Full details are here.

LucidTalk are also doing some on-the-day polling today to check for any last minute movement – if that shows any shift they’ll be be updating tomorrow morning.


633 Responses to “Polling for the Northern Ireland Assembly election”

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  1. “Is Theresa May playing a very clever game in order to stop Brexit ?”

    ‘No’, I think is the long answer to this one.

  2. “So the question isnt simply what immigrants might pay in tax, but what might be lost if entire industries close down.”

    ——–

    That just complicates things though, Danny. It’s much easier if we just stick to the downsides of immigration, if that’s ok.

  3. Very mixed retail sales news from the Eurozone.

    Markit Eurozone Retail PMI Retail sales broadly stable in February

    Key points:
    Higher sales in France and Germany offset by decline in Italy

    Strong cost inflationary pressures persist

    Employment level continues to rise

    Data collected February 10-24 February saw a further broad stagnation in eurozone retail sales. Following a similar story to the previous month, increases in both France and Germany were offset by another marked contraction in Italy. The headline Markit Eurozone Retail PMI – which tracks the month-on-month changes in like-for-like retail sales in the bloc’s biggest three economies combined – dipped to 49.9 in February, from 50.1 in January, and signalled little change in the level of sales in the eurozone retail sector. Sales were down when compared to the same month one year previously. Each of the big-three eurozone economies monitored by the survey reported a drop in year-on-year sales during February, led by a sharp contraction in Italy.

    Alex Gill, economist at IHS Markit which compiles the Eurozone Retail PMI survey, said: “A divergence in retail sector performance across the euro area persisted in February, with German and French retailers enjoying a further rise in sales while their counterparts in Italy endured a fourteenth successive decline. That said, retail companies across the eurozone took on additional staff members, partly indicative of firms’ optimism with regard to their near-term outlook for sales growth. Meanwhile, strong competitive pressures, combined with a further marked rise in average input costs, continued to squeeze gross margins.”

    It’s interesting that there are strong inflationary pressures in the Eurozone as well as the UK. Hopefully UK figures will be out soon.

  4. “It’s interesting that there are strong inflationary pressures in the Eurozone as well as the UK.”

    ———-

    Oh God it’s not stuff we import is it? That’s all we need…

  5. “‘No’, I think is the long answer to this one.”

    ———

    tl;dr

  6. ALEC

    @” I currently believe that Brexit will promote greater low skilled and less high skilled migration,”

    I don’t understand why the criterion inherant in this statement is the skill profile of immigrants. My hope is that the ability to control ( ie increase OR decrease) our immigration post Brexit will allow us to build a workforce with the required skill levels for our future economic needs supplementing skill gaps with immigration-rather than completely compensating for them with immigration.

    @”Defence cooperation is one of those issues which seems to get many Brexiteers frothing at the mouth, with a slightly strange insistence that only closer ties with the US are desirable, ”

    Where is the evidence for this strange characterisation of a concern that an EU military force would subvert & duplicate the role of NATO?

  7. @Carfrew, Sea Change

    We’re also finding it harder to attract engineers and R&D specialists from overseas because we’re perceived as a less attractive option to non-UK nationals than hitherto (although cost of living is also a factor).

    We’re short of both – critically short in the case of engineers, as we don’t have enough people as it is to deliver the infrastructure projects that are supposed to keep the economy ticking over.

  8. @Colin

    “I don’t understand why the criterion inherant in this statement is the skill profile of immigrants.”

    ——–

    Well one reason is that the higher skilled can be fussier and work elsewhere to enjoy benefits of being in the EU. Hence nurses arriving much reduced and doctors considering leaving.

    But Alec is also saying agriculture sector is also short of workers. Read an article the other day about the rise in unpleasant behaviour towards immigrants that they’re afraid to report…

  9. COLIN, that may well be your hope but other Brexiters hope there will be no immigration.

  10. @Chris Riley

    Indeed cost of living also a factor, which is another reason native youngsters may wanna be abroad, exacerbating things further.

    Brexit could turn us into Japan!!

  11. Just a few general points.

    On immigration what seems to have been overlooked is that many EU migrants in relatively low paid jobs are over qualified, so the Romanian Graduate working in an office is far better value than the British equivalent with only GCSE’s.

    Equally all those Polish Plumbers many of whom were self employed were just as skilful if not more so that ours did a good job for less money. I can see how a plasterer being undercut for job after job can complain about them “coming over here and taking our jobs” but if you need work done you won’t complain if the Polish quote is a couple of grand cheaper.

    My Polish Plasterer returned to Poland last year and I still haven’t got a replacement to do a bathroom ceiling.

    1) it’s hard to find one.
    2) Two of the five I’ve asked to quote never got back to me.
    3) Of the three left, two said it was too small and fiddly.
    4) And the last one phoned back and when I asked for his price said “So how much were you thinking of paying?” So I put the phone down.

    Supply and demand, when supply is plentiful the price drops and you get more for your money. When supply is outstripped by demand the price rises. If you restrict supply of Labour then prices will rise. It might mean that semi skilled trades people will find it easier but consumers will have to pay.

    If we need to increase incentives in the NHS then we will just have to increase the NHS budget to get the same care as now.

    My son was looking at doing a Degree in Sound Engineering when he leaves school, so I asked a friend who runs a small studio for advice. He said the whole industry in UK only employs a couple of thousand but we produce 3,000 graduates a year across music disciplines. More over a the bulk of UK music post production is now done in and around Bratislava!

    Like Trump with putting 35% on Mexican built cars so they build in America, the end result one way or another is that buying a car in America is going to cost a lot more.

    On Automation, the big change won’t be Robots, but AI algorithms and it won’t be the factory floor but the office. Already we are seeing the Internet, be it Argos or Amazon replacing the high street shop, with the customer on their iPad doing much of what the cashier did twenty years ago in terms of taking your details and placing the order… So we don’t need them any more.

    I now do my car insurance and tax on line and fill out the form that is effectively the same questionnaire I used to be talked through on the phone…So the call centre job is gone.

    When I was a school, all be it thirty years ago, we had “Secretarial Studies” where you learned to type and how to use Carbon paper so that wait for it ….you could do up to five copies of a memo at the same time!!!!!.

    Why in a good sized company a typing pool of twenty could run off 1,000 copies of a memo to be put on every bodies desk within an hour and with half a dozen office lads they could all have it on their desks by lunch time if the pool got it before 10.00!

    Now Trump can get it to a billion in seconds without leaving bed!

    It’s not manufacturing that will feel the impact it’s services and we have a service economy.

    Automatic trading is already significant and within a decade an AI computer linked to server in a room anywhere will be able to outperform a dozen traders on six figure salaries. So how many jobs will the City loose?

    Much of our Service economy is driven by consumer spending but those same consumers working in Services. If people in Services lose their jobs what’s going to drive the consumer economy?

    It’s not that Robots will replace people on the shop floor we should worry about so much as the people who have already left the shop floor for the Call Centre being replaced by “Select an Option and Press the Star Key.”

    I suppose with less immigration and an aging population ex welder Who switched to Service centres or Warehousing for Mike Ashley on a zero hours contract could look after old folks, but who’s going to pay for it if their are fewer people in work on lower wages paying less tax?

    Peter.

  12. Also i’d add, building a workforce for our future needs. I assume this means training people up to do the jobs we now employ foreigners to do? Best tell the government who cut bursaries for nurses and companies who’d rather hire (often from abroad) than train people up.

  13. @danny:

    The point is that it is a crude generalisation to say immigration is great for the economy. Some sources are better than others – The third world example being easiest. EU migration tends to dance around the line of being net contributors – which is why the argument is put in terms of better than the locals. Break that down and you have low paid with jobs subsidised by tax credits lumped in with high paid doctors and even higher paid bankers.

    If anyone truly believed in the economic argument for immigration they would be brutally selective.

    But it is also an identity issue.

  14. @JOSEPH1832

    “The point is that it is a crude generalisation to say immigration is great for the economy.”

    ———–

    But it does have benefits that we may lose and are being ignored.

    You can’t just go ‘but immigration isn’t perfect!!” and use that as an excuse to ignore drawbacks of Brexit.

    Well I mean you can, lots of people are doing it. But it doesn’t really advance things…

  15. @Peter C.

    “If we need to increase incentives in the NHS then we will just have to increase the NHS budget to get the same care as now.”

    ————

    But some peeps voting Brexit are also quite ok with voting to hold back pay and bursaries etc. in the health sector. I think they’re just doing it to ruin my gestalt…

  16. @Peter C

    My friend is one of 36 partners in his firm. They used to each have a secretary and some had two. Today they have three shared between them. Several partners mostly work from home.

    You are right – it is the service sectors that will see the impact mostly.

    Surprisingly, there have not been big gains in productivity. The conveyancing of a house takes longer today than it did thirty years ago, despite e-mails, land registration, etc. Why is that?

  17. “Negative coverage of the European Union in British newspapers nearly doubled over the last 40 years, a study has found.

    Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) found negative coverage of the EU increased from 24 per cent to 45 per cent between 1974 and 2013, at the “expense of positive and neutral coverage”.

    Positive coverage fell from 25 per cent to 10 per cent over the same period.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/european-union-brexit-negative-coverage-uk-newspapers-doubled-40-years-study-a7612711.html

  18. Alec – 9.10

    What an excellent contribution! Thank you.

  19. “The conveyancing of a house takes longer today than it did thirty years ago, despite e-mails, land registration, etc. Why is that?”

    ———

    So they can charge more?

  20. Carfrew – 10.20

    “Negative coverage of the European Union in British newspapers nearly doubled over the last 40 years, a study has found.

    Doubtless some will see this as evidence that the EU has become so much worse over the past 40 years, whereas others will complain that the press has become far more biased against the EU. It seems to me that, as in the USA, people in the UK are increasingly listening only to those with whom they agree.

  21. @ Millie
    @ Carfrew

    Re: conveyancing.
    It actually costs less, on an adjusted basis, than it did thirty years ago (considerably so because of Margaret Thatcher’s introduction of “Licenced Conveyancers”. The reason for it taking so long now is because thirty years ago the queries to the vendor ran to two pages, now I believe it is closer to ten, it takes longer to obtain mining reports because the records are so poor and no-one really maintains them (its not a priority for the rump British Coal), the Land Registry is pretty good \as I understand it but the local authority searches, god knows when you will see them. Most Law Firms who still do it, only do conveyancing as a loss leader these days it actually loses them money. I am glad I went to the Bar!

  22. @john b

    “Carfrew – 10.20

    “Negative coverage of the European Union in British newspapers nearly doubled over the last 40 years, a study has found.

    Doubtless some will see this as evidence that the EU has become so much worse over the past 40 years, whereas others will complain that the press has become far more biased against the EU. It seems to me that, as in the USA, people in the UK are increasingly listening only to those with whom they agree.”

    Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest, Li de Li

  23. Peter Cairns

    I agree with your assessment. The idea that humanoid robots will come down in price so that everyone can afford them to look after Granny/The Kids/Walk the Dog is simply wishful thinking. If that is really going to be the aim for this country then perhaps we should have put 19 Billion into AI research instead of 19 Million. On the face of it TM doesn’t seem that committed.

    As for robotic plasterers… I doubt that 19 million will be enough.

  24. John B

    ” It seems to me that, as in the USA, people in the UK are increasingly listening only to those with whom they agree.”

    I agree with you on that. maybe part of the reason is that most of the talk both here and elsewhere is just speculation about what might or might not happen. I read the pages and pages of it here, and pray for a poll to talk about.

    I also think that the views on either side of the argument, especially here are stongly held and very unlikely to be changed by any argument short or long.

  25. @John B
    @WB

    Re: EU coverage, yes you have a point, it is summat that is liable to be seen both ways…

  26. @Alec

    My favourite amusing consequence of Brexit is the belated and en masse discovery by the Tories that on the UK economy, it was Michael Heseltine, not Margaret Thatcher as they had vigorously asserted for 30 years, who was right all along.

    Indeed, we’re already seeing the hasty, quiet burial of Thatcherism. I was speaking to an Old Labour figure very recently who was lamenting that his party had spent decades futilely assaulting Thatcherism only to read the new Green Paper and discover they’d quietly binned it, to no outcry from the party or it’s press supporters, and no input from Labour. UKIP did more to cause it.

    Political irony right there.

  27. Can the DUP and Sinn Fein put aside their differences and form a government in three weeks? To do so may require the resignation of Arlene Foster (temporarily or permanently) – she does not want to go.

    “Senior DUP sources told the Belfast Telegraph that Mrs Foster should reconsider her decision and not put her personal pride before what was best for “the party and the people of Northern Ireland”.

    The sources said they believed that Sinn Fein wouldn’t back down from its position of not forming a government with the DUP if Mrs Foster was nominated as First Minister before the inquiry into the ‘cash for ash’ scandal issued at least an initial report.

    One DUP figure proposed a compromise move for Mrs Foster whereby she would accept another ministry in the new Executive, with the agreement that she would step up and become First Minister after the inquiry.

    “I think that is an entirely reasonable compromise which doesn’t involve Arlene being humiliated,” the source said.”

  28. The Peugeot deal for Vauxhall is about to destruct-test assumptions about the UK’s attractiveness as a car manufacturer post-Brexit.

    Someone is shortly going to be proved wrong.

    I hope for the sake of the country and for employees, it’s Remainers.

    I fear it might not be though.

  29. Ms Foster will resist moves to have her resign, it seems.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland-assembly-election/northern-ireland-election-results-im-not-quitting-vows-arlene-foster-35495537.html

    “Writing in today’s Sunday Life, Mrs Foster she said she will seek to work with other parties to get the Stormont Executive up and running again.

    “I am listening not just to those who voted for the DUP but to those who cast their votes for other parties,” said Mrs Foster who has faced fierce criticism of her leadership style after her party lost 10 seats in the Assembly election.

    Sinn Fein’s northern chief Michelle O’Neill also struck a postive note yesterday, saying hammering out an agreement won’t be easy but is “achievable”.

  30. @ToH

    “I agree with you on that. maybe part of the reason is that most of the talk both here and elsewhere is just speculation about what might or might not happen.”

    ——

    Well if that were the case, why then it would support your idea that we should keep quiet about Brexit!!

    But actually it’s selectivity not speculation, of which there are numerous examples.

    You can’t avoid speculation, prediction is a big part of the utility of considering these things, as in polling. Peeps aren’t gonna wait twenty years to read what happened, they need to vote and stuff in the meantime.

  31. Peter Cairns

    I agree with your well argued assessment on the reshaping of the labour market.

    There is something I would add – mainly because of the promise of “high quality, high paid manufacturing job” by the political parties.

    A medium-high tech automotive component manufacturer I’m familiar with moved to new premises because of the increased demand. Out of the roughly 100 employees about 10 are very well paid, about 28 are well paid, the rest (62) are on minimum wage (after three months training) with shift bonus (most work in three shifts).

  32. CARFREW

    “But actually it’s selectivity not speculation, of which there are numerous examples.”

    Really I can’;t remember any but i guess my view of what is speculation is different to yours.

  33. @Chris Riley

    The Peugeot thing is also another example of the dangers of losing control of a strategic industry. As with energy.

    Curiously it’s the French again. Their ecomomic model is supposed to be a socialist disaster according to some but in practice with important stuff like cars and energy they seem to be calling the shots…

  34. @ToH

    Lol no, it’s not just one opinion against another Howard, the selectivity is obvious. I mean you haven’t engaged much with the impact of Brexit on nursing, doctors, agriculture have you? Saying we have to wait twenty years is the height of selectivity. Which, you know, is up to you. Don’t blame you really…

  35. There is a good write up in the Irish News about the NI election results, past and present, by the political historian Eamon Phoenix (wonderful name).

    http://www.irishnews.com/news/2017/03/06/news/unionism-loses-stormont-majority-after-a-century-of-dominance-954155/

    “For the next 40 years the Unionist monolith seemed invincible as successive one-party Unionist governments under Andrews, Brookeborough, and O’Neill commanded the bulk of seats at Stormont.

    Even in 1969, when Unionism split on the issue of Civil Rights reform, Unionism still held 39 of the 52 seats in the local Parliament. The Nationalist vote had declined over the years as the old Nationalist Party of Cahir Healy and Eddie McAteer contested only safe Nationalist seats.

    Many seats on both sides went uncontested. So the overall Nationalist vote fell from a high of 27 per cent in the 1949 election (when the Anti-Partition League launched a determined election campaign) to just 8.4 per cent in 1964. Though Labour and Independents made some impact in Belfast, Unionism and the Union remained supreme.

    This remained the case even in the power-sharing Assembly of 1974 where Unionism, albeit split between Brian Faulkner’s pro-Sunningdale section and the ‘Majority Rulers’ under Paisley and , still held 50 of the 78 seats in the Assembly- a commanding majority for the Union. The Nationalists, represented by the SDLP, held only 19 seats with 22 per cent of the vote- a record showing at the time.

    The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 saw an upsurge in the overall Nationalist vote to almost 40 per , but Unionists still controlled a majority of seats (58 out of 108) in the new Assembly.

    Since 1998, the Nationalist vote has shown a sharp downturn while pro-Union voter turnout remained steady. All that changed last week, however. In response to a series of factors- the RHI scandal; Arlene Foster’s strident anti-nationalist rhetoric; Paul Givan’s pointed removal of Irish language bursaries and the all-pervasive shadow of Brexit- nationalism mobilised as never before.

    The resulting loss of a Unionist majority at Stormont for the first time has shocked Unionism to its core. The political and, especially, the psychological implications of this as the centenary of Partition approaches in 2021, should not be underestimated.”

  36. @ToH

    I should add, it cuts both ways. There’s not much engagement by retainers with issues concerning impact of immigration on culture etc., or environment…

  37. CARFREW

    “Which, you know, is up to you. Don’t blame you really…”

    Good I am very happy with the way things are progressing on the Brexit front so far. The Governement seems to see it as I do and while that continues I am quite relaxed about it and feel little need to post on it.

  38. Carfrew @ 8.55 am

    Thanks for the answer. But, since your points were nothing to do with devolution, they seem somewhat irrelevant.

  39. @Oldnat

    Of course they are. Devolution has allowed more Scots to vote SNP without fearing letting in Tories as much… And the increased representation in Westminster along with SNP jig comments stokes worries about them holding the balance of power.

  40. @ToH

    “Good I am very happy with the way things are progressing on the Brexit front so far. The Governement seems to see it as I do and while that continues I am quite relaxed about it and feel little need to post on it.”

    ———–

    Well sure, if that’s what interests you. Some are interested in what peeps think and what shapes their opinion, or not, and that remains interesting regardless of which way the wind blows politically on Brexit.

  41. @CARFREW

    “The conveyancing of a house takes longer today than it did thirty years ago, despite e-mails, land registration, etc. Why is that?”

    ———

    So they can charge more?”

    No, so they can charge the same or less because more work is piled up to the poor legal executive who has to do all the drudgery.

  42. @WB

    That is entirely correct. Conveyancing charges have dropped very considerably, compared to say 30 years ago. And your explanation for the time it takes is also spot on..

    It is actually a good example of where modern technology has slowed down the pace of business. Preliminary enquiries are now word processed and most are entirely irrelevant, but they have to be answered, because all boxes must be ticked, in the interests of compliance, and to meet insurance standards.

    Conveyancing is indeed a loss leader often these days, whereas it used to be very much ‘bread and butter’ for the legal profession.

    Interestingly, I had a legal friend who did a job recently for free, because the cost of compliance/setting up a file was greater than the fee he could reasonably charge.

  43. @MILLIE

    “Conveyancing is indeed a loss leader often these days, whereas it used to be very much ‘bread and butter’ for the legal profession.”

    Indeed it is, and that’s why they pile it in front of the juniors why the more senior people do ‘proper’ legal work. This means that the juniors have to deliver more in less time than in the old days. Also, you don’t need to be a lawyer to do conyancing any more, pretty much anyone with the right training can do it.

  44. If it’s a loss leader they might charge more down the line…

  45. “”Devolution has allowed more Scots to vote SNP without fearing letting in Tories as much…””

    I can`t understand this argument, just like I can`t understand Teresa May saying passing the Lord`s amendment for a vote in parliament on the final deal will weaken the Government`s hand in negotiating.

    Surely, most of the extra SNP MPs have resulted in fewer Labour MPs and hence given a greater chance of a Tory HoC majority.

    Many middle-of-the-road Scots have wanted Labour out but have been doubtful on the deal they would get from a Tory Westminster government. That coupled with approval of Salmon speaking out against ignorant Southern English, have boosted the SNP swing/landslide.

  46. @Tancred

    Precisely.

    I have another example of where technology has slowed things down – golf.

    It now takes four hours instead of three. They now have little contraptions which tell them exactly how far they are from the pin. They used to judge it by eyesight.

    And they have ‘woods’ that are technologically superior and hit the ball further … into the carp, where they spend five minutes looking for it.

    The good news is that the lawmakers have proposed some seriously sensible changes to the laws and things might improve. I have a feeling Old Nat is on the R & A Rules Committee…

  47. PETE

    @”COLIN, that may well be your hope but other Brexiters hope there will be no immigration.”

    My impression is that it is the most intransigent Europhile Remainers who characterise the ability to control who comes into UK as a desire for “no immigration”.

  48. CARDREW

    “Some are interested in what peeps think and what shapes their opinion, or not, and that remains interesting regardless of which way the wind blows politically on Brexit.”

    and some aren’t, in relation to Brexit.

    It’s really interesting that you ignored the other part of my post to John B which suggested that such posting was a waste of time because opinions are not being changed here. Why did you chose to reply for John B who I am sure is quite capable if a reply was warrented?

  49. Interesting article from Germany, about the summer of 2015 when they were experiencing the migrant crisis:

    https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article162582074/Fast-haette-Merkel-die-Grenze-geschlossen.html

    It is in German so you’ll have to use Google translate.

    The gist of it is as follows (translated by someone on reddit):

    “In a telephone conference on 12. september 2015, the leading figures of the German government decided to close the border the following day at 18:00h, when thousands of refugees were on their way from Hungary. The police order, to reject everybody on the German-Austrian border without legal documents, explicitly even in the case for demand for asylum, was already written. Police forces from all over Germany were already mobilized therefore, and about to be transported. Due to legal uncertainty and the fear of ugly pictures nobody was found to take responsibility for the decision. Eventually the decision was made to let in people without documents if they demand for asylum.”

    Turns out that Merkel is a populist and was made the decision not to enforce the law because of publicity. Of course letting people in caused a “pull” factor, which prompted more people to come. The news that they decided not to enforce the border for PR reasons will go down badly among the other Europeans she is now trying to persuade to take some of the migrants.

  50. @ToH

    I didn’t choose to ignore it, I forgot to address it. I have expressed my view on the matter before. I’m interested in opinions, and what influences them, because opinion polls, because education, because interesting anyway.

    But I don’t see an obligation to change opinions. If opinions don’t change, that’s still interesting. Anyway, they quite often do change, it’s just peeps don’t draw attention to it…

    Furthermore, even if people don’t change their overall opinion, it doesn’t mean no progress. For eggers, people may still support Brexit, but may take the nursing issue more seriously where they didn’t before and come up with summat to address it.

    Equally Remainers may still back remain but decide maybe should have had more transfer payments to reduce immigration.

    Etc. Etc.

    BTW I know you now want talk of Brexit to stop but it’s asymmetric. We can skim past posts we’re not into, but we can’t read posts we’re into if they aren’t posted.

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