posted at 9:51 am on April 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Allahpundit wrote a lengthy piece about last night’s CNN poll, complete with some insightful commentary about the cross-tabs.  If you missed it — and by the number of comments on the post, it doesn’t appear than many of you have — be sure to read it now.  However, the sample data, as AP pointed out, lacked a few details, most prominent of which was the partisan split of the sampling.  Given the inclination of media polls to use wildly unrepresentative D/R/I splits in their samples, the lack of transparency on that point is telling.

That might not be the biggest problem with the poll, though.  Its biggest problem is … math.  Reader Raymond O did some math and asked a rather interesting set of questions in an e-mail last night about how CNN did theirs.  First, let’s start with the topline results, as reported by CNN: Obama 52%, Romney 43% among registered voters, 53/41 among all respondents.  If that’s the case, then the number of respondents in the latter case voting for Obama should be 538, and the number supporting Romney 416.

However, when reading the questions on page 3 of the poll report, that’s not at all what we see:

BASED ON 484 RESPONDENTS WHO PLAN TO VOTE FOR OBAMA — SAMPLING ERROR: +/- 4.5 PERCENTAGE PTS.
3. (Asked of Obama voters) Is that more a vote FOR Barack Obama or more a vote AGAINST Mitt
Romney? …

BASED ON 476 RESPONDENTS WHO PLAN TO VOTE FOR ROMNEY — SAMPLING ERROR: +/- 4.5 PERCENTAGE PTS.
4. (Asked of Romney voters) Is that more a vote FOR Mitt Romney or more a vote AGAINST Barack
Obama?

Since the combined total of the two exceeds their count of registered voters in the survey (910), we have to assume this refers to the general-population response.  That’s wildly different than the 53/41 split that CNN reports from the poll.  In fact, it’s only a 48/47 split for Obama.    And given that the poll shows a slightly better result for Romney among registered voters, it’s not difficult to conclude that Romney probably led in that category before CNN’s pollster shifted the results around to this extent.

Obviously, the pollster weighted the results — dramatically.  But on what basis?  Pollsters weigh results in likely-voter models; in fact, that’s a vital part of the likely-voter modeling process.  I’m not aware of the need to weight gen-pop polls unless the demos in the survey are wildly deficient, and since CNN didn’t disclose those, we don’t know — but it hardly imbues these results with confidence.  Speaking of which, the actual 484 responses for Obama is slightly more than 10% less than what it would take to get to a 53/41 split, far outside of the margin of error announced in the data (+/- 4.5%).  In other words, CNN’s pollster produced results that we’re supposed to believe represents the general population’s views within 4.5%, and then proceeded to weight them by increasing Obama’s advantage by almost 11%.

Again, I’m not aware of a need to weight results in general-population polls, and certainly not to the extent seen here, nor did CNN disclose that they did weight the results, especially in the general-population results. Without the rest of the demographic data included in this survey and the weighting methodology, this poll should be treated as utter fantasy.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

D’oh

jake-the-goose on April 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Where is that photo from? Too funny.

itsnotaboutme on April 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

It’s Called the Fifth Column Treasonous Media for exactly this reason…

SWalker on April 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Lani Guenier polled the population obviously.

NoDonkey on April 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

OK. Now I’m confused. Am I supposed to crow that Romney’s winning, or ignore it as a sample shenanigan?

Sometimes it’s confusing to be a mittbot.

Prufrock on April 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

F’n ko0ns punks.

BKeyser on April 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Was watching my local news this morning and this was the only poll they mentioned, they aren’t even a CBS affiliate. No mention of Gallup or Rasmussen.

Go RBNY on April 17, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Anything to feed the Narrative. Anything. There is nothing too degrading, demeaning or humiliiating. Your wish is our command, o mighty One.

Bat Chain Puller on April 17, 2012 at 9:57 AM

angryed hardest hit

strictnein on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

ED to Allah…PWNED

Skwor on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

On third thought….

Philly on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

What is this CNN you talk about????

dirtseller on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Polls are used to shape public opinion these days.

no care.

tom daschle concerned on April 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

ED to Allah…PWNED

Skwor on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

No, no, no … I spent 15-20 minutes looking at the report yesterday, too, and never noticed it.

Ed Morrissey on April 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

That photo is my new favorite.

Nikkia2112 on April 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

CNN used gimmicks to achieve a desired result from their polls.

Sun rose in the East.

Questions?

Meat Fighter on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Shocka. Skewed and manipulated polling data. This isn’t the first time and it definitely won’t be the last.

Slainte on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

this poll should be treated as utter fantasy.

Fantasy with a purpose. The MSM is doing everything in its power, and it has a lot of power, to get Obama re-elected. These people are not journalists, they’re Obama campaign workers.

AZCoyote on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

CNN = Clintonian News Nimrods

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Thank you. I just knew the poll didn’t pass the smell test.

WannabeAnglican on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Polls are used to shape public opinion these days.

no care.

tom daschle concerned on April 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

If by “Shape public opinion” you mean tell the feeble minded what to think, then yes, yes you are correct sir.

SWalker on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

I noticed this behavior before when John King was reporting on different polls on his show- John King USA awhile back. I thought then that it must be because CNN is really sloppy about taking polls, and how they analyzes, and report on them.

Dr Evil on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Without the rest of the demographic data included in this survey and the weighting methodology, this poll should be treated as utter fantasy.

All Righty then.

Speaking of fantasy, the WaPo is reporting that Leon Panetta has blown through \$860K taking a government jet back and forth to California to spend weekends with the family. The job is in DC, why should the taxpayer have to pay for Panetta’s choice to keep his family on the West Coast. In these tight fiscally constrained times where the Air Force is having to scrimp to keep fuel costs down how is this even remotely being a good public steward?

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

He’ll still lose every state but Utah!!!111!!! /ABRs

Apparently this was nothing but a push poll. I’m shocked.

changer1701 on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Unfortunately, it will take a catastrophic misstep by the MSM before people wake up. I do not know what it will be but…if they are still in control of reporting their own error to a majority of Americans many may still never know. Willful ignorance is the true enemy of America.

allstonian on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Please enter the descriptive term for MSM polls…

CNN fantasy poll

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Where is that photo from? Too funny.

itsnotaboutme on April 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

BTW what’s funnier, the triple face palm or the wide eyed young lady in the background?

If there is a category for “Most words painted by a picture”, this one wins.

dirtseller on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

“this poll should be treated as utter fantasy.”

It isn’t fantasy. It’s projection. And it’s close to criminal. We need to stop covering for liberal thug tactics by calling them silly, fantasy, delusional, etc.

MaxMBJ on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I didn’t even bother looking at the analysis of the “data” yesterday. The only question was whether the poll was an intentional fraud or just a statistical outlier – a fluke.

Looks like the answer is “fraud”.

forest on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

So we can add CNN to the list of bullcrap pollsters along with CBS and WaPo/ABC.

Doughboy on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Obviously, the pollster weighted the results — dramatically. But on what basis?

Because, as usual, strict accuracy is not – repeat NOT – a friend of the Left in general and ObaMao in particular.

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

You don’t need any stinkin polls. Just talk to those around you. Obama will lose by 5 minimum and I will not be surprised if he loses by 10+.

dddave on April 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Apparently this was nothing but a push poll. I’m shocked.

changer1701 on April 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

That CNN is making stuff up or that they are doing it so early?

Dan Rather summed up the MSM motto these days- fake but accurate.

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Where is that photo from? Too funny.

itsnotaboutme on April 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Looks like the coaching staff from Duke. That’s Coack K in the middle.

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Where is that photo from? Too funny.

itsnotaboutme on April 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Probably the first half of the Duke vs NC State game when Duke was being walluped by a non-ranked team that everyone had given up on.

But, I might be a little biased on that assumption.

LoganSix on April 17, 2012 at 10:03 AM

So we can add CNN to the list of bullcrap pollsters along with CBS and WaPo/ABC.

Doughboy on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I pretty much pay attention to Rasmussen only.

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I didn’t even bother looking at the analysis of the “data” yesterday. The only question was whether the poll was an intentional fraud or just a statistical outlier – a fluke.

Looks like the answer is “fraud”.

forest on April 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

After Sandra Fluke’s testimony before that pretend Democrat congressional panel I believe Fluke and Fraud have become synonymous.

SWalker on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

So, the poll was a fluke up of the deliberate kind.

RBMN on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

See, math is easy, Barbie!
— CNN

Dusty on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

First Rule of Fight Club Hot Air:

Every poll you don’t like is biased/skewed in some way. Every poll you like is perfectly run.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

ED to Allah…PWNED

Skwor on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Exactly right.

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

This poll is as real as Obama’s layered birth certificate

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I pretty much pay attention to Rasmussen only.

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Why?

The 105 polls released in Senate and gubernatorial races by Rasmussen Reports and its subsidiary, Pulse Opinion Research, missed the final margin between the candidates by 5.8 points, a considerably higher figure than that achieved by most other pollsters. Some 13 of its polls missed by 10 or more points, including one in the Hawaii Senate race that missed the final margin between the candidates by 40 points, the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:05 AM

All polls which are published which do not include internals as to how the polls are demographically weighted should be discounted, period.

writeblock on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

ED to Allah…PWNED

Skwor on April 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

No, no, no … I spent 15-20 minutes looking at the report yesterday, too, and never noticed it.

Ed Morrissey on April 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Oops, sorry. I would suggest though we have enough historical data to now dismiss CNN/CBS/ABC/NBC polls as unreliable UNTIL evaluated against the weighting and questioning methods. This has about become a weekly occurrence with these polling groups.

Perhaps HA could start a new category.. Pinhead Polls (for entertainment value only) :)

Skwor on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Every poll you don’t like is biased/skewed in some way. Every poll you like is perfectly run.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

In other words, Ed’s explanation of this poll’s ridiculous bias went right over your head.

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Commie News Network.

celtic warrior on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Skewed Poll, Skewed News

willardcsmith on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Let’s hope that ” they ” read the polls …. get overconfident…..
and don’t go out to vote !

Lucano on April 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

All polls which are published which do not include internals as to how the polls are demographically weighted should be discounted, period.

writeblock on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Winner

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

this poll should be treated as utter fantasy.

Just like any “poll” from ABC/NBC/NYT’s/WaPo.

GarandFan on April 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I have always wondered why you HotGas folks treat these leftist media polls with even the smallest amount of respect….

Well, it must be at least beginning to dawn on you guys that these “news” reporters are just the modern Pravda. It won’t be long before one of them start calling themselves the “People’s Channel”

I guess I understand the math issues and breaking it down on that basis…but lets face it…if the veil on their fuzzy math is ever broken, they will just start making up the numbers as necessary.

Conservatism will only be free and fully effective when our so-called alternative media quits piggy backing and on the pack of liars we know as “the old media.”

The only air time they should get on “conservative” publications are shining examples of their being abject and homogeneous organizations of LIARS.

WL on April 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

In other words, Ed’s explanation of this poll’s ridiculous bias went right over your head.

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Every poll that shows Romney down has the same explanation. And it’s the same BS excuse of my guy/cause is losing therefore the poll is bad.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM

CNN polls = half-hearted guesstimations during happy hour.

hillsoftx on April 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM

I have no opinion on the poll but that photo is a keeper. lol too funny.

exceller on April 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

That is a little surprising, I must admit. I guess we’re finding out for the first time that the media is somewhat biased.
–Mitt Romney

Mr. Prodigy on April 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Every poll that shows Romney down has the same explanation. And it’s the same BS excuse of my guy/cause is losing therefore the poll is bad.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Is that you, liberal4life?

changer1701 on April 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Why so angry, ed?

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Do not believe the mainstream media. Do not believe their polls Keep fighting. Never give up.

xrayiiis on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Every poll that shows Romney down has the same explanation.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Yes, and the same Left-wing bias. So the question is why do you embrace that bias?

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I love how RomneyAir dismisses any poll from CNN but anything out of Fox News is treated as gospel never to be questioned. Where was the in depth analysis of that poll? Oh that poll showed Romney winning so nobody took a second look or questioned the methodology.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

This poll is an OUT-LIAR

Bensonofben on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Yes, and the same Left-wing bias.

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

You’re paranoid as are most Hot Gassers.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

From now on, CNN will just poll their employees as a cost-saving measure.

Along with Ted Turner and Jane Fonda for old time’s sake.

NoDonkey on April 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

I have felt for a very long time that the MSM reporting can never never ever ever be belived. That’s why their viewership is way down compared to Fox! The idiots in charge just do not get it. They lie, cheat, threaten and name call which only hardens the silent majority resolve to come out in huge numbers to defeat this corruption. Bring on the election… The Tea party has their candidate and now they will see the anger of true Americans.

karlinsync on April 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Polls this early in the game mean nothing anyway. But of course with the subject poll we are seeing the time honored practice from the Left to inflate the numbers for their candidate to make him ‘appear’ to be a winner.

Axion on April 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

You’re paranoid as are most Hot Gassers.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

lol

cicerone on April 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

What’s a little unethical manipulation of data? Nothing that demands CNN clarify the polls egregious errors or admonish the pollster. Nah. This is a preview of the many erroneously weighted Obami polls to come. The good news is these deliberately skewed polls may help motivate the GOP and Indies to vote against Obami in Nov.

Slainte on April 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Why so angry, ed?

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

If Romney actually wins, will ed get angrier? Or will he head north to Canada to move in with Dave Drywall?

Del Dolemonte on April 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Serious question: Why does the Left have to lie to itself?

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

I can’t believe ANYONE would defend a poll that is 11 points OFF of the rest of the polls that has Romney in the lead by 2. We all agree that polls can be skewed, but Angry Red is cherry picking the polls by championing the outlier… and ignoring the others.

Bensonofben on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

First Rule of Fight Club Hot Air:

Every poll you don’t like is biased/skewed in some way. Every poll you like is perfectly run.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Why do you care? You said you’re voting for Obama, so what’s the point of weighing in on every thread that is about polling? Do you think you’re going to change someones vote? Do you think it will somehow make someone else besides Romney the GOP candidate? I really don’t understand your motivation.

ReaganWasRight on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Paging Dan Rather…they’re onto us…

PatriotRider on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

I have felt for a very long time that the MSM reporting can never never ever ever be belived. That’s why their viewership is way down compared to Fox!
karlinsync on April 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

NBC, ABC and CBS (alone) have more viewers than Fox. Fox is the big fish in the little cable news pond. But compared to broadcast news programs, Fox News is barely noticeable.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Goebbels would be proud of CNN.

rbj on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Nearly every episode of the cartoon “Scooby Doo” ended with the villain uttering the same phrase that now must be going through the heads of the CNN management… “And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for the damn meddling kids bloggers”

SWalker on April 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Thank you Ed. Statistics and graphs make my head swim. Like most people, I look at the bottom line. Or, the headline. Knowing you are digging into details, and finding out the truth really helps. In my corner of the world, Obama has about a 2 per cent approval rating. And those folks sure aren’t bragging on him like they used to!

tj4osu on April 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM

f Romney actually wins, will ed get angrier? Or will he head north to Canada to move in with Dave Drywall?

Del Dolemonte on April 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I’ll be laughing at you imbeciles when Romney turns out to be everything I predicted and you’re scratching your heads mumbling he was severely conservative, he was severely conservative.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Serious question: Why does the Left have to lie to itself?

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Because nobody else believes a damn thing they say…

SWalker on April 17, 2012 at 10:17 AM

CNN is trying to account for the number of dead people who will be voting democratic in the next election.

aniptofar on April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

The moral of the story is the only poll to believe is the one that happens on the first Tuesday of November.

itsspideyman on April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Why do you care? You said you’re voting for Obama, so what’s the point of weighing in on every thread that is about polling? Do you think you’re going to change someones vote? Do you think it will somehow make someone else besides Romney the GOP candidate? I really don’t understand your motivation.

ReaganWasRight on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Translation: I don’t care what reality says, I’ll keep closing my eyes to polls I don’t like. Cool dude. I just read a poll taken by Sean You’re a Great American Hannity. It says 198% of the public will vote for Romney.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

First Rule of Fight Club Hot Air:

Every poll you don’t like is biased/skewed in some way. Every poll you like is perfectly run.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Math is hard…

PatriotRider on April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Let me see…HotAir states the poll is wrong, and most all of us knew that from the beginning…and so what?
CNN won’t change the poll, they won’t change the reporting, and HotAir is singing to the choir.
I bet event he liberal posters on here won’t admit that the CNN poll is wrong, they will defend it.
This is going to be a long election season…a long one and this will be a common theme.
The irony, is that as CNN does this, Fox gets stronger…

right2bright on April 17, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Polls – of adults or registered voters – are always weighted to some extent.

Demographic weights like gender, age and race are always necessary – it’s difficult to assume the sample wasn’t “deficient” as you put it. There are others adjustments pollsters often use: Hispanic speaking households, region, education, cell-phone/landline, etc.

That said: 1) it’s becoming clear this poll is an outlier; 2) it’s fair to be suspicious of polls that, like this one, don’t meet minimum disclosure and transparency standards (like disclosing which demographic weights were used).

joana on April 17, 2012 at 10:19 AM

The moral of the story is the only poll to believe is the one that happens on the first Tuesday of November.

itsspideyman on April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Except it’s too late to do anything about it at that time…some people are pro-active.

right2bright on April 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

CNN’s War on Truth

faraway on April 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

The only poll I am interested in at this point is if that girl in the picture could do an act on a pole for us.It would make more sense.

docflash on April 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

You’re paranoid as are most Hot Gassers.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Look, any poll this far out should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, the recent group of polls from Fox, Gallop, and Rasmussen has had the race either Romney ahead, or virtually tied. When a poll this out of whack comes out it’s a good idea to look into why.Thank goodness someone on our side did….

sandee on April 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Angryed…Oh, so by voting for Obama You’re NOT an Imbecile. You need serious professional help.

BeachBum on April 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

The media joins the stupid side, Obama’s trying for the dumbest of the Stupid voters. Math is not their strong suit.

Did they tell you what the tilt for stupid Obama voters was —

tarpon on April 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Fox News and Drudge and all media of a non-left persuasion should be on this all week long…if not for other reasons, at least force CNN to disclose their methodology and sampling and shame them…I mean the extent of skewing of their polls is outrageous, all pollsters skew to some extent, but this???…besides, they are not a pollster organization, since when they are trusted on this anyways?? I take even Fox News polls with a grain of salt, and they are far more accurate than the CNN disgustingly and outrageously dishonest ones…

jimver on April 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I’ll be laughing at you imbeciles when Romney turns out to be everything I predicted and you’re scratching your heads mumbling he was severely conservative, he was severely conservative.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Whatever.

You going to continue this for the next four and a half years?

NoDonkey on April 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Looking at that picture my thought was they were saying:

“OBAMA is OUT?!”

“OBAMA IS OUT?!!”

wildcat72 on April 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Angryed…Oh, so by voting for Obama You’re NOT an Imbecile. You need serious professional help.

BeachBum on April 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM

You sound like a Kerry supporter in 2004 who thought every Bush voter was stupid. Try getting out of the Hannity/Limbaugh bubble some day, there’s a whole world out there where every Republican isn’t divine.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM

But compared to broadcast news programs, Fox News is barely noticeable.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

or more accurate, compared to some of the trolls on HR (l4l now gone and others), you are barely noticeable…why bother posting here then?

jimver on April 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM

The picture is of Duke’s bench during their tourney loss methinks.

Bensonofben on April 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM

You’re paranoid as are most Hot Gassers.

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

you are imbecilic unlike most Hot Gasers….

jimver on April 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM

We aren’t even close to October. Can’t wait for the spin to come from Ax.

Kissmygrits on April 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM

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