Essential Research leadership polling

The second set of leadership ratings since the election is featured in the latest release from Essential Research, which may also offer a hint of how it plans to respond to the great pollster failure.

The fortnightly Essential Research release is the second since the election to encompass the monthly leadership ratings. These offer positive signs for Anthony Albanese, who is up four from his debut on approval to 39% and down one on disapproval to 24%, while Scott Morrison is slightly improved in net terms, with approval steady on 48% and disapproval down two to 34%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is effectively unchanged, shifting from 43-25 to 44-26. The poll also features a series of questions on the ban on tourists climbing Uluru, which 44% support and 30% oppose, and 69% professing awareness of the issue.

Of particular interest in this release is the revelation that Essential is inquiring about respondents’ income, which appears to be a new development. The only detail provided in the polling results is that Morrison has 59% approval among higher income earners, but the appendices go to the trouble of telling us that Essential has set three income cohorts for its surveys: low (below $52,000), high (above $104,000) and medium (in between).

I suspect this means Essential’s response to the pollster failure will be to start using income to weight its results. This is a departure from the Australian industry norm of weighting only by geography, gender and age, and would also seem to be a bit unusual internationally. An American pollster noted last year the practice had fallen out of favour there due to the high non-response rate to questions on personal income. The preference is to instead weight to other factors which themselves correlate with income, notably education and, particularly in Britain, social class.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1091. In the Guardian report accompanying the poll, the elephant in the room was addressed thus:

There has been controversy post-election about the reliability of opinion polling because none of the major surveys – Newspoll, Ipsos, Galaxy or Essential – correctly predicted a Coalition win on 18 May, projecting Labor in front on a two-party preferred vote of 51-49 and 52-48. The lack of precision in the polling has prompted public reflection at Essential, as has been flagged by its executive director, Peter Lewis. Guardian Australia is not currently publishing measurements of primary votes or a two-party preferred calculation, but is continuing to publish survey results of responses to questions about the leaders and policy issues.

Also in The Guardian today are results from a separate Essential Research poll, this one for Digital Rights Watch concerning recent police raids on journalists. In response to a question noting raids on “the offices and homes of News Corp and ABC journalists who reported on national security issues”, 40% said they were very concerned, 34% slightly concerned and 26% not concerned. Similar results were produced on questions relating to metadata and police powers to break into online communications systems. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1089.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

819 comments on “Essential Research leadership polling”

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  1. Hi William,

    Thanks very much for this polling update.

    What’s particularly interesting about this release is the revelation that Essential is inquiring about respondents’ income, which would appear to be a new development. The only detail provided in the polling results is that Morrison has 59% approval among higher income earners, but the appendices in the report go to the trouble of telling us that Essential has set three income cohorts for its surveys: low (below $52,000), high (above $104,000) and medium (in between).

    The 59% approval rating among the above $104,000 income voters seems extraordinarily high.

    It also seems counterintuitive to big swings away from the coalition in wealthy seats.

  2. Mueller rattles GOPer by saying Trump can be indicted after leaving office: ‘You could charge the president?’

    Former special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Wednesday that President Donald Trump can be prosecuted after leaving office.

    At a House Judiciary hearing, Mueller told Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) that Department of Justice policies prevented him from making a determination about whether Trump should be charged with obstruction of justice.

    “But could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?” Buck asked.
    “Yes,” Mueller replied, startling the congressman.

    “You could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?” Buck asked again.

    “Yes,” Mueller repeated.

  3. Mueller reveals FBI is ‘currently’ investigating Trump associates vulnerable to Russian blackmail

    Former special counsel Robert Mueller revealed on Wednesday that the FBI is “currently” investigating associates of President Donald Trump who are vulnerable to blackmail from the Russian government.

    Krishnamoorthi noted that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been charged with lying about his contacts with Russia.

    “Since it was outside the purview of your investigation, your report did not address how Flynn’s false statements could pose a national security risk because the Russians knew the falsity of those statements, right?” the congressman wondered.

    “I cannot get into that mainly because there’s many elements of the FBI that are looking at different aspects of that issue,” Mueller replied.

    “Currently?” Krishnamoorthi asked.

    “Currently,” Mueller stated.

  4. Rick Wilson‏Verified account @TheRickWilson

    Mueller to Congress: Trump’s Wrong, I Didn’t Exonerate Him

    Earlier in his testimony, under questioning from Nadler, Mueller torpedoed two of Trump’s favorite lines.

    Nadler asked Mueller if it was true that his report did not clear the president of obstruction of justice. Mueller answered, “Correct—it is not what the report said.”

    “What about total exoneration?” Nadler asked, referring to a phrase the president has tweeted many times. “Did you actually totally exonerate the president?”

    “No,” Mueller replied.

    He also confirmed that Trump refused to sit for an interview with his team.

    Mueller did not charge Trump with a crime. Explaining his decision, he pointed to a Justice Department legal finding that concluded prosecutors cannot charge sitting presidents with a crime.

    “[I]f we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said in his only public statement on the probe, at a question-free press conference.

  5. The timid response from pollsters to their election fiasco is symptomatic of an industry that lacks insight, integrity and is simply playing a political game.
    Polling is not hard. It’s quite simple. The questions are easy to understand. The answers are easy to collate. There’s enough time to talk to a meaningful sample of voters in every State, in the bush and cities and every age group.
    The results are then published, warts and all. After a few weeks do it all again. Not hard.

  6. Al Pal,
    It has been shown that the answers are not ‘easy to collate’. Polling companies are finding it very difficult to gauge the opinion of low interest voters. Who decided the last election.

  7. @C@tmomma

    Twitter thought I was doing self harm and blocked me for a week when I told Donald trump to go bomb himself in his reply that America is great.

    Not sure how that works

  8. Seth Abramson
    (THREAD) This open thread provides live updates on former special counsel Bob Mueller’s Congressional testimony before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

    1/ After Rep. Nadler (D-NY) summarized the report in a few sentences, Rep. Collins (R-GA) deliberately and repeatedly mischaracterized its findings and concluded by saying falsely, “These are the facts of the report.” They weren’t—and he knew they weren’t. A bad sign for the GOP.

    2/ Mueller begins by saying he decided early on that he had to move expeditiously as well as fairly. He is already beginning his defense of closing up his office (in the view of many) “early” given still-open cases and subpoenas for testimony and documents that remain unanswered.

    3/ Mueller underscores that he DIDN’T consider “collusion”—he underscores he only determined whether there was ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CHARGE, meaning that when he said something was “not established,” it only means there was insufficient evidence to CHARGE someone with a given crime.

    4/ Mueller says his testimony is curtailed by ongoing cases (though we don’t know what they are) and because DOJ has told him he can’t cover certain things (which they had no authority to do). He says—annoying the GOP—he cannot address why the investigation was initiated in 2016.

    5/ Mueller says he will not summarize his report with new words, meaning he is going to make Democrats’ and Republicans’ questions include the language of his report: he will not re-summarize anything on-site and in an impromptu way.

  9. 6/ Mueller says the report “does not” find “no obstruction” nor does it “exonerate” Trump.

    7/ Mueller says he proceeded on obstruction without a prosecutorial judgment “only after” taking into account the OLC opinion saying that he *couldn’t indict* Trump.

    8/ Mueller: the president “was not exculpated for the acts that he committed.”

    9/ I will say that Mueller seems a little… shaky… particularly the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence could really hammer him this afternoon with some strong cross-examination on Volume 1 of the two-volume report, and I do wonder now how well he would handle it.

    10/ Mueller is *very* willing to give one-word answers as necessary, which I can say as a former trial lawyer is going to make for *much better soundbites* for the Democrats. They have to like this development a *great* deal.

  10. 11/ Remember that this three-hour hearing focuses almost exclusively on Volume 2 of the report (the one focused on obstruction).

    12/ The GOP is trying to establish “collusion” and “conspiracy” are synonymous. They are not. Not in any way. Mueller disagrees, as he should.

    13/ Rep. Collins (R-GA) is going aggressive from the outset. Not a good strategy and won’t be a good look. Mueller asks to be directed to a page of his report, and Collins is hassling him in a way that doesn’t look good.

    14/ Asked if other countries were involved in election interference besides Russia (and they were: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel, for instance) Mueller says he can’t comment, which I think many will take as a confirmation that counterintelligence is still looking at those issues.

    15/ Collusion is *not* synonymous with conspiracy and that’s a *crucial* point. Collusion can undergird crimes besides conspiracy. Mueller just said under oath they were *not synonymous*. The GOP can try to badger him on that but the Democrats better keep him to his first answer.

  11. Al Pal

    It may is not so easy if you need to supply what a customer wants ? A few elections back in the UK
    over a period of many months the published polls pointed to a Labour victory. Why were they all so wrong for so long ? Turns out both major parties’ internal polling had got it right and both had picked up within a month of each other when the shift occurred. All the dud polling had been commissioned and paid for by newspaper/media companies. Coincidence ?

  12. Michael DowlingNot My AFP @MeckeringBoy
    Apparently, according to a Centrelink employee, there are still pensioners turning up to ask Centrelink and ATO for their “promised” franking credits and tax refund cheques. They haven’t paid tax and they don’t own shares.

    Comprehensively conned by LNP. #auspol

    Also not terribly knowledgeable so easily conned.

  13. Senator Jacqui Lambie may vote in favour of a Coalition bill to facilitate the deregistration of unions

    Lambie was in the army so I assume she likes rules and dislikes protesters.

  14. This doesn’t look good for NSW Labor:

    NSW Labor has been accused of a “scheme to evade” the state’s electoral funding laws, sparking concerns from the corruption watchdog over foreign influence in the electoral process.

    The explosive details are contained in a report tabled to NSW Parliament in response to Labor’s formal complaints over the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s December raid of its headquarters.

    The report indicates ICAC considers the matter is serious, complex and of “significant public interest” given its context with possible foreign influence on the NSW electoral process.

    It also indicated the targets of the inquiry are ALP officials, members of Chinese Friends of Labor and political donors, who may have allegedly evaded donation laws, which the report suggests can attract jail terms of up to 10 years.

  15. ‘Not a witch hunt’: Mueller blows apart Trump’s denials as Schiff lays out the case for Russia collusion

    Robert Mueller blew apart President Donald Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation was a “witch hunt” as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made the case that his 2016 campaign engaged in foreign collusion.

    “Your report describes a sweeping and systematic effort by Russia to influence our presidential election, is that correct?” Schiff asked.

    Mueller agreed, and he also agreed that the Trump campaign did not notify the FBI of offers of assistance received from Russian individuals.

    “In fact, the campaign welcomed the Russian help, did they not?” Schiff asked.

    “I think we reported in our report indications that occurred,” Mueller agreed.

    “The president’s son says, when he was approached with dirt on Hillary Clinton, that the campaign would love it?” Schiff said.

    “That was generally what was said, yes,” Mueller agreed.

    “The president himself called on the Russians to hack Hillary’s emails?” Schiff said.

    “There was a statement by the president in those general lines,” Mueller agreed.

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Simon Benson reports that Scott Morrison has signalled immediate and sweeping reforms to the public service to make man­darins more accountable and ensure they are serving the “quiet Australians”, confirming a changing of the guard at the top levels of the bureaucracy. This sounds like more politicisation of the APS to me. (Google).


    Law professor Johanna Howe sums it up nicely by saying, “If you can’t afford to pay workers, you shouldn’t be in business”.
    Pensioners will be prioritised ahead of unemployed Australians for any boost to welfare payments as the Morrison government stands firm against growing demands to lift the Newstart allowance.
    Newstart is meant only as a stop-gap measure? That’s cold comfort says Greg Jericho as he takes aim at the useless McCormack.
    The global financial system appears to be closing in on another inflection point over the next week, writes Stephen Bartholomeusz and chances are that the world’s two key central banks will announce or foreshadow a return to the kind of monetary policy settings they implemented immediately after the global financial crisis.
    Jacqui Lambie says she might vote for a controversial bill to facilitate the deregistration of unions and officials if John Setka remains at the helm of the Victorian division of the CFMEU.
    David Crowe reports on Dave Sharma’s maiden speech in which he said that Australians will discover their “strategic holiday” is over in a world where the relative power of the United States is on the wane.
    In a new world of low interest rates and sluggish inflation, questions are being asked of the RBA over whether its inflation target is still relevant, writes Pamela Williams in the AFR.
    More from Megan Gorry on faulty building blocks. This has all the hallmarks of a slowly exploding time bomb.
    More on this from Carrie Fellner.
    Incoming AFP chief Reece Kershaw has vowed to seek a briefing from AFP officials over police raids on News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst and ABC journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark in June that triggered a major debate over press freedom.
    Lisa Cox reports that Angus Taylor has again defended himself over his business interests in a company that was under investigation for alleged illegal clearing of native grasslands, declaring he always acted within parliamentary rules.
    Indefensible for public health, indefensible for taxpayers and their $12 billion subsidy. Private Health Insurance is a “wreck”, writes John Menadue. Put the funds into Medicare, he says.
    Christian Porter is being pressured by conservative MPs and equality activists after he cited the Israel Folau case as the sort of dispute new religious discrimination protections would resolve.
    According to Emma Koehn Business owners have been warned they have no choice but to “be on the ball” about their obligations as the federal government moves forward with anti-phoenixing rules that include significant civil and criminal penalties for poorly-behaved directors.
    The arrest of a French journalist has focused a spotlight on Australia’s contributions to global warming, writes Dr David Shearman.,12932
    Proposed rules for managing energy demand could potentially lower prices and reduce blackout risk, but there are reasons to be sceptical, writes Bruce Mountain in The Conversation.
    The federal court matter – Vodafone Australia and TPG Telecom versus the ACCC – will be a test of the competition regulator’s use of hypothetical counterfactuals to justify merger bans.
    Ben Butler reports that the chairman of the corporate regulator ASIC gave “no reason” for killing off a long-running investigation into allegations Australia’s biggest bank, the Commonwealth, systematically ripped off term deposit customers.
    Angus Taylor has declined to pick a fight with BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie over emissions policy and instead claimed common ground over power prices.
    Nick Miller tells us Boris Johnson has promised the UK “the buck stops here”, taking personal responsibility for his bold promise to win a new Brexit deal from an obstinate Europe and lead his country out of “three years of unfounded self-doubt”.
    Alistair Campbell says, “Aussies must think the Mother Country’s gone bonkers in making Boris its PM”.
    On the other hand Max Kozlowski says that Boris Johnson’s ‘persona of shambles’ bodes well for Australia.
    Richard Wolffe writes that The Donald and Boris love-in won’t last unless the UK delivers for Trump. He says Johnson is now Trump’s man in Downing Street. But it seems Nigel Farage is the true object of the US president’s affection.
    The UK Guardian tells us that the UK is at its most combustible and now it’s led by a man who plays with matches.
    And Jonathon Freedman says that with the appointment of hard-right Johnson loyalists to the great offices of state, an early election looks ever more likely.
    The New Daily reports that Boris Johnson has taken a knife to his predecessor’s cabinet on his dramatic first day as Britain’s new prime minister. In what has been described as a “summer’s day massacre” by one Tory, more than half the cabinet has been sacked or resigned.
    Robert Mueller has told a dramatic US congressional hearing that he had not exonerated President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice and indicated he would have sought his indictment were it not for a Justice Department policy against bringing charges against a sitting president.
    With rising sea levels, Pacific island states will look to Australia for leadership or refuge, writes Jim Clough.,12929
    Reporting its worst financial losses ever, Boeing has said it could shut down production of the 737 MAX if the grounding of its best-selling plane persists much longer.
    From horsemeat labelled as beef to tilapia passed off as grouper, fraud has long plagued the food world. Now, taco lovers are crying foul over the discovery that their guacamole might not be what is seems.
    Facebook will pay a record-breaking $US5 billion ($7.1b) fine to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices and the social media giant will restructure its approach to privacy, the US Federal Trade Commission says.
    Who is being protected by the suppression of information concerning the Whitlam Government’s dismissal, asks Professor Jenny Hocking.,12931
    Aussie favourite Arnott’s biscuits is facing big changes after its sale to a hostile US corporate raider. Mike Bruce has some thoughts on what might happen.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and Boris.

    A cracker from Peter Broelman.

    Cathy Wilcox on leadership criteria.

    Matt Davidson reinvents an old trick.

    From Matt Golding.

    A portrait from Dionne Gain.

    Alan Moir launches the new UK PM.

    John Shakespeare on NewStart.

    A couple from Mark David.

    Jon Kudelka and pill testing.

    A gif from Glen Le Lievre.
    Jon Kudelka with Boris’s Brexit journey.

    From the US

  17. Good Morning


    Labor NSW needs a clean out. That just may have ended Labor winning the next election. Public not seeing action taken.

    The question now is will the Democrats get a spine and Impeach with answer to Ted Lieu’s question?

    Republicans did Benghazi and Trump won.
    Country before politics and even politics is not an excuse.

  18. Latest YouGov Poll.

    No Boris Bounce, Labour lack lustre….

    Britain-wide voting intentions (YouGov):

    Conservatives 25% (n/c)
    Liberal Democrats 23% (+3)
    Labour 19% (-2)
    Brexit Party 17% (-2)
    Greens 9% (+1)
    SNP 4% (n/c)
    Plaid Cymru 1% (n/c)
    UKIP 1% (+1)

    Scottish subsample:
    SNP 42%,
    Liberal Democrats 18%,
    Brexit Party 13%,
    Labour 11%,
    Conservatives 10%,
    Greens 5%

  19. Cat.

    If you are talking about Dutton not the Australian people with missing reporting deadline very Trumpian.

    If you are talking Trump. Congress. House is only option of power that can act.

  20. Morrison is going full ahead to try to consolidate his position, this time by ‘reforming’ the APS to make Department Heads ‘more accountable’ on behalf of Silent Australians.

  21. Thanks BK.

    I see that Boof has learned from his success in his chronic efforts to destabilize May’s tenure.

    He is appointing far right wingers so that there will be a minimum of discord in his Cabinet. His Tory enemies will all be outside pissing inside Boof’s tent.

  22. @NannasLismore
    Starting Monday July 22, 2019, the first 450 hectares, a little over 450 rugby fields, of bushland will be cut down over 80 days at the mine’s site in the Galilee Basin.
    @Scott & @AnnastaciaMP … what will your grandchildren say?

  23. C@t

    Boris may not last long, it will depend on Tory dissidents……. a UK wide general election would be very interesting.

    Boris might keep many Tory voters from moving to the Brexit Party but both Tory and Labour might also lose seats to the LibDems in England and are likely to lose most of their remaining Scottish seats to the SNP.

    Hopefully the DUP will lose seats in NI.

  24. swamprat,
    What do you think about a Brexit Party/Tory Party Coalition government then? Would they be able to get enough seats between them to form a government?

    The Lib Dems look resurgent, but would SNP join with them?

    Where does that leave Labour?

  25. [The lack of precision in the polling has prompted public reflection at Essential, as has been flagged by its executive director, Peter Lewis]

    Just saying, publically, you are reflecting on something does not constitute public reflection.

  26. ‘Zoidlord says:
    Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Starting Monday July 22, 2019, the first 450 hectares, a little over 450 rugby fields, of bushland will be cut down over 80 days at the mine’s site in the Galilee Basin.
    @Scott & @AnnastaciaMP … what will your grandchildren say?’

    FMD. Again!

    What they should say, if they have any sense of perspective at all, is that Coalition state and federal governments have consistently sought to weaken or eliminate land clearing laws and to weaken or eliminate agencies that might police any residual land clearing laws. The overall result is that hundreds of thousands of hectares have been cleared under the Coalition aegis.
    Politically slut shaming Annastacia by equating her land clearing efforts with Scott is part of a Left problem. Annastacia she has taken on politically challening broadscale land clearing at state level. Scott is all for open slather land clearning.
    It is this sort of divisive political slut shaming with its facile same same which is the sort of divisive activity that the Left excels in.

    The message here is threefold and is simple.
    1. Broadscale land clearing is terribly destructive of the environment.
    2. The Coalition indulges massive broadscale land clearing.
    3. If you want to stop broadscale land clearing, target the Coalition.

  27. [‘This continued secrecy over the records of our own history is simply insupportable. It reflects a presumption of secrecy and control which has supplanted the presumption of public access and distorted recent decisions on access in recent years.’]

    Hocking’s correct. The public has the right to know the full circumstances of the “Dismissal”, amongst other things, including the part that the Queen played in it. FOI is essential to a properly functioning democracy – denial or inordinate delay thereof is more in keeping with a dictatorship.

  28. C@t

    I do not have much knowledge of UK wide politics. I read it only in relation to Scotland and Ireland.

    I would imagine a Tory – Brexit link up would be possible to get Brexit done. Though there are two prima-donnas to accommodate.

    The SNP would never support Tory, Brexit nor LibDems.

    An interesting recent poll amongst Labour UK members showed strong support (over 80%) for ‘alliance’ with the SNP should it be necessary, something the Labour leadership has always been strenuously opposed to. It also showed a 50% support for Scottish independence, again strongly different to the Labour leadership.

    Jeremy Corbyn seems pretty uninterested and not very knowledgeable about Scotland but only 2% of Labour members come from Scotland now. Most of their membership migrated to the SNP following Labours close alliance with the Tories and LibDems in 2014.

  29. The ABC is putting on a two part series on the Robert Barrett character Les Norton. The books were an absolute hoot!
    Sunday 4 August.

  30. Interesting development re the NSW labor party and potential illegal donations.

    At what stage will Albanese decide it is time to intervene and demand the branch clean up its act or else he will take the matter to the national executive. Further, if a individual or individuals are accused of attempting to conceal donations will Albanese push for their exclusion from the party.
    Upholding labor values and all that.

    Albanese has set the precedent for intervention with his push to expel Setka, the secretary of the Victoria branch of the CFMMEU, so surely sticking his head into the NSW branch of the labor party and demanding the expulsion of members should be on the cards.

    Albanese has set himself up as judge and jury in deciding who is not upholding labor values and who should be expelled from the party so for consistency at least he should be ready to dive in head first in NSW and get rid of anyone not following the true path of labor values.

    I await with interest to see Albo fire up over NSW labor.

  31. Morning all

    Caught up with The Mueller hearing. It surprised some that there is still an ongoing counter intelligence investigation. Why it would be a surprise, baffles me.

    Meanwhile the shoddy building shit show continues. Yet Morrison and co continue to focus on the cfmmeu.
    The cfmmeu has no clout in Sydney, which could explain why anything goes on building sites.
    Only two weeks ago, my OH was working in Sydney CBD, and was shocked to see that grinders are still be used on site. They are banned in Melbourne, having the nickname widow makers. And due to union representation, anyone caught using one in Melbourne is banned from doing so.

  32. Anastacia doesn’t have any children. So she probably won’t have anything she can say to the non existent grand children.

  33. doyley,
    Or do you favour throwing away due process? I mean, John Setka is relying on it after all and you are staunch in your support of him. So?

  34. Mavis Davis

    It is my understanding that the monarch always takes the advice of the PM, even if it is against their own personal opinion. Also, the conferences between the PM and the monarch in England have always been confidential. In the case of the Dismissal, QE would presumably have ‘taken the advice’ of the GG (who deliberately ignored the Australian PM) as her representative.

  35. C@

    …and there was a court case in process with Setka. You can’t insist on instant action in one case and demand due process is followed in others.

  36. @Cat:

    “This doesn’t look good for NSW Labor:”

    This appears to be only a historical artefact of the Jamie Clement’s regime. It might be embarrassing to the likes of Chris Minns and Courtney Houssos, who were part of that regime, but probably not even them.

    The amount in question appears to be limited to $100,000. Chicken feed compared to what the Liberals were up to in that same period.

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