Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

It’s the turnout, stupid; Updated





In the weeks leading up to the election, conservatives universally derided the polls released by the mainstream media as having a built-in liberal bias because the samples they used to model the electorate were similar to the 2008 electorate. In 2008 the electorate which gave Obama his victory had a partisan split (D/R/I) of 39/32/29 (D+7). But that was the height of Obamania, we argued, and there was no way the electorate in 2012 could be anywhere close to what it was then after 4 years of the disaster known as the Obama presidency. But we conservatives were wrong as the partisan split of those who cast a ballot in 2012 was 38/32/29, virtually identical to what it was in 2008. The question is why?

First, a little background. One of the best predictors of the partisan split of the electorate is party identification. Rasmussen tracks party ID on a monthly basis. At the end of October 2008, on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, Rasmussen recorded a +7.1% partisan advantage for the Democrat Party. Obama went on to win that election by 7.2%. Another indicator which is highly correlated with the partisan split of the electorate is the generic congressional ballot. Immediately prior to the 2008 election, RCP indicates that the Democrats enjoyed a 9% advantage on that key statistic.

This year the numbers couldn’t be more different. Rasmussen’s most recent party identification survey indicated Republicans had a 5.8% advantage, a swing of 12.9% in four years. Significantly, this number is far better for the GOP than it was prior to the 2010 Republican mid-term blowout. On the RCP generic congressional ballot, the GOP has moved into a virtual tie with a 0.2% advantage, a swing of 9.2% since 2008. Given such dramatic movement toward Republicans, it’s understandable that conservative pundits and bloggers (myself included) would cry foul over polls using samples with partisan splits similar to 2008. And yet when the dust settled, yesterday’s electorate was D+6 which resulted in Obama being comfortably re-elected while Republicans actually lost seats in the Senate when it appeared less than a year ago that they’d retake it easily. What happened?

In a word, turnout. While highly correlated, there is a difference between party identification and the partisan split of the electorate. To be counted in the electorate, you have to show up and vote. There are twice as many conservatives as liberals in the potential electorate, but too many of them stayed home and thus, weren’t part of yesterday’s actual voting electorate. I was in my car yesterday afternoon and Rush Limbaugh asked what he framed as a couple of rhetorical questions. In trying to reassure his listeners that Romney had this in the bag, he asked (paraphrasing) if they believed more Republicans would show up for Romney in 2012 than showed up for McCain in 2008, and if they believed fewer Democrats would show up for Obama in 2012 than in 2008. It was apparent that Limbaugh assumed the answer to both questions was a resounding "yes" and, consequently, more Romney voters + less Obama voters = GOP victory.

As I listened to this, however, I was skeptical of his assumed answer to the first question. I still don’t know anyone who was enthusiastic about voting for Romney. I understand it’s anecdotal, but everyone I know who voted for him (or was planning to vote for him) did it on the basis of him being the lesser of two evils. C4P readers know that I’ve written myriad posts over the last three and a half years in which I’ve shared my opinion that Romney would be a dismal, unelectable, cookie-cutter candidate who would inspire nobody, so I won’t get into that now. Suffice to say that to beat an incumbent president with unlimited campaign funds, a seasoned campaign team, and the entire apparatus of the executive branch at his beck and call, a candidate needs to offer a more compelling reason for voters to turn out for him than simply relying on the fact that he’s not Obama. For this reason — and others — I questioned Limbaugh’s assumption that there would be a huge turnout for Romney. There wasn’t, and that’s why he lost.

Limbaugh was correct on his second question. A comparison of 2008 election results and 2012 election results indicate Obama received about 9 million fewer votes yesterday than he did in 2008. But the data also indicate that the Romney-Ryan ticket received almost 2.3 million fewer votes nationally than the McCain-Palin ticket did in 2008. (Incidentally, that 2.3 million voter deficit is only marginally less than the number of votes by which Obama beat Romney in the popular vote.)

To be blunt, the Republican Establishment coronated a candidate who couldn’t inspire the rank and file of his own party to come out in sufficient numbers to replace the man responsible for four of the most miserable years this country has endured since Jimmy Carter. Maybe it’s due to bone-headed moves like this. Who knows. In any event, this is how a nation with more Republicans than Democrats and twice as many conservatives as liberals ends up with a D+6 voting electorate.  It’s also how Republicans threw away their one opportunity to send Obama back to Chicago, take the gavel from Harry Reid, and get rid of Obamacare before it destroys our health care system and bankrupts the nation. Stupid party, indeed.

Update: This is great. Our old friend, The Aged P, nails it:

In 2008 the Republican president was extremely unpopular, there was a financial crash, a worrying war and a media pushing two narratives – the possibility of wiping away the scars of racism by electing a black president and an orchestrated demonisation of the GOP VP candidate with lies and sexist insults.

In 2012 the economy was still broken, the worrying war was still simmering away and the Democratic administration was racked with scandals. The Republican candidates were clean cut, inoffensive and apparently competent politicians completely acceptable to the GOP establishment and the media.

( Note -you might find this extremely helpful)

Your task

Explain why the 2012 Republican ticket lost the election and got three and a half million fewer votes than the 2008 ticket Please send your answers, accompanied with your apologies, to a certain lady in Wasilla, Alaska.

Thank you

Update II: Mark Levin analyzes last night’s electoral debacle while passionately defending conservatism and the Tea Party. He also has some words for the GOPe, the Bush family, Karl Rove, and others of that ilk. Click image below to listen.



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  • Steve_Flesher

    Tweeted!

  • Jthom26837

    Hey, What d’ya know? Turnout was the key after all.

     I STAND WITH SARAH PALIN!!!

  • Lurker

    Mitt should’ve enbraced Palin when he was campaigning in states

    • John B. Hefmier

      But he would’nt.  He did the opposite.

    • alien4palin

      The GOP establishment and gatekeepers suffered a double defeat. They lost the 2012 election to the democrats and they lost their GOPe initiated one-sided vicious CHALLENGE to Sarah Palin.
      A broken and fractured party cannot win elections, they are too busy eating their own rather than their opponents. Unless there is a hidden agenda for being a loser and the status quo remains intact. They are no threats to each but they mutually viewed Sarah Palin as a threat.

  • http://twitter.com/TheAgedP The Aged P

    Those 2012 numbers…I think an apology is owed to Sarah Palin   http://www.theagedp.com/?p=6730

    • c4pfan

      That’s right!

    • Jthom26837

       I hear ya!!

      I STAND WITH SARAH PALIN!!!

  • http://twitter.com/isleofyouth PhilipJames

    I hope that you also realize that there may be more than one change to Supreme Court and Obama could slant left… lots of changes to come that we still have not realized

    • xthred

      No one is coming to save us. Plan accordingly.

  • http://twitter.com/isleofyouth PhilipJames

    Will anyone besides us notice that no one like …. Mia Love, Alan West, Murdock, etc. ASKED Sarah Palin to campaign for them?? Meek and mild and full of themselves and the so-called Romney coat tails.

    • socon

       I noticed that. too.  They avoided Sarah.

    • Lurker

      I was wondering why Sarah Palin didn’t endorse Mia Love

      • socon

         Was she asked?

      • Steve_Flesher

         She did endorse her, it’s on the SarahPAC website under "Palin’s Picks."

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suki-Pero/100001668382968 Suki Pero

    Thanks for the analysis and clearer picture, even if it is stunning.  I was completely blown away that more people didn’t see the danger of having Obama running this country for the next four years.  Once it became clear that there was no other path in this country except ABR or ABO I shut up and fell in line and then voted for Romney.   Once and for all I hope that all conservatives realize that the Republican party has forever abandoned us and treats us no better than the Democratic party treats it’s minority members.  The time is past, lets look to the future. 

  • socon

    Stupid Party, indeed.  Fox is already pushing Jeb Bush for 2016!  Freaking unbelievable.

    Let me off this crazy train right now–I won’t be told to sit down and shut up again.

    • Min Max

      Hold on to this feeling please!! I heard this after ’08 too…but when ’12 came around, lots of conservatives decided once again to hold their nose for Mitt.

      • socon

        I voted for Mitt but they never made me shut up about the fact I knew he was a lost cause.

        If we want to take on the GOP we’ll have to start soon.

         

        • senator20526

           The conservatives I know, voted against Obama, not for Romney……He didn’t wants us at his convention and he didn’t want our leader to speak for him or campaign with him….It’s like taking your wife for granted, one day she is not going to be there……

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suki-Pero/100001668382968 Suki Pero

          Sooner than we think.  I just saw a post that Boehner is ready to put tax hikes on the table for Obama.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to switch from Republican to Independent affiliation now before the year ends.  As someone else mentioned, sane democrats also welcome.  It is time to set a new mandate.  If independents are 29% and we add another 20 or 30% defectors to that number we’ve got a new party ready to form.

          • patnatasha

            boehner is always ready to cave.

      • friskyness

        That’s the problem!  Conservatives always vote for the guy the GOPe says to vote for in the primaries!  So they voted for Mitt, when everyone knew he was bad…….then the election comes and no one shows up!  I did say, leading up to the convention and during it, that Romney did not unite the party!  It was his attempt and the GOPe to get rid of Palin and the Tea Party. But actually, they got rid of themselves!  If the GOPe wants to win any future elections, they have to become more conservative or else just lose!  The salvation of the GOP would be to get rid of the Bush’s!  A Bush will never win another election in this country……..guaranteed!

    • lonestar

      Jeb Bush, Jesse Jackson on drugs while in rehab could beat him.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AQL44D6ZYDWZFFEUHUB6OSAJ2Q Brian

    Thank You my thoughts too. Also what is Mike Steele thinking today. he helped win in 2010 and got kicked out.

  • http://twitter.com/enbreb Elwanda Burrell

    After the primaries Romney didn’t unite the party.  Instead he didn’t even want Gov. Palin at the convention, threw the Tea Party under the bus and pissed off Ron Paul supporters.  I guess he thought they were beneath him and would vote for him, if he did treat them like dirt….now he knows that he was wrong.

    • socon

      He’s paying for his arrogance now.  Mitt’s not used to losing, but he’s going to wear the loser banner for the rest of his life.

      • Min Max

        Actually, Mitt should be pretty used to losing by now. His political career sucks big time…how many times did he run for governor and lost? How many times has he run for president and lost?

        • socon

          I was talking about his personal life.  He’s obviously won the lottery there. 

          This loss has got to smart.

  • http://www.solitudebooks.com/ Dan C

    In the end when all are counted it will be close as to 08 McCain 12 Romney total votes, but Romney should have blown past 08 by a large margin with ease given the easier environment. Thats the point!

  • xthred

    So I wasn’t the only conservative that refused to vote for a liberal.

    • socon

      Guess you’re not the only stubborn cuss around.  lol

  • mark1955

    I’ll explain why…Voter fraud and the repub establishment ( Bush/Rove ) were in it up to their eyeballs with the dems in defeating MITTEN’S.This stinks to high heaven. As popular as Governor Palin is and as much as we all admire her,there is no way her popularity alone explains this discrepancy.The polling places were physically packed yesterday according to all reports,yet we are to believe that Obama got 9 million votes less than he did in 2008 and still pulled off a win. BULSHE! All the enthusiasm was for MITTEN’S going into this election. Not because of who he was,but because he was the anti-Obama. That should have been more than enough coming off the heels of all of Obama’s America destroying policies,including the latest with Benghazi. This thing was rigged by the european voting consortium SCYTYL. That firm had it’s original owner murdered and now Soros is knee deep in that organization. Every single election SCYTYL has been involved in Internationally has resulted in the Left wing candidate winning…Not a coincidence. Obama won every single battleground state he had to win,except North Carolina. Wow i’m shocked.sarc,even though all indicators before hand had him in big trouble in all of them. Scytyl has figured out a way to calibrate every national election from now on,to give fraudulent results.Just as many beforehand worried about.

     Another thing is going on here that we have to reject immediately and in masse. The pushing of the phony meme that the country has changed permanently and we have to get use to it. This phony meme is being pushed deliberately by the leftwing establishmentt of both party’s,as a reason to cast away Tea Party and Conservatives and constitutional policies,on the way to literally enslaving us.The Establishment wants us to believe that Obama has a mandate,so the repubs have to join on Obama with the:Dream Act,The Internet freedom destroying ‘SOPA’,Cap and Trade,Assault Weapons Ban( We ain’t giving our firearms up ),the full implementation of Obamacare,the National Worker ID act,The criminalizing spoken or written criticism of islam ( We ain’t shutting up about how islam is a death cult of savages a,animals and 12th century Beasts )the emptying out of our nuclear deterrent force during sequestration etc. The whole leftwing ball of wax that is designed to literally enslave and destroy us. It will also be used as a reason to cast aside potential Reagan Conservatives like Sarah in exchange for Jebbie,all by design. As a matter-of-fact,i listened to Rush Limbaugh today for the first time since the debt ceiling fight during the summer of 2011. He was in full blown mode for the establishment,by pushing the phony meme that ( Paraphrasing ) "This is the way the Country is right now and we have to get used to it". Geez,wouldn’t that help his buddy Jebbie?

     Do not fall for this crap election for one second.It was garbage. We have to keep hitting other sites screaming about it’s fraudulence,so people know for the fight ahead that most Americans don’t want this agenda. We can’t let our fellow citizens  curl up into a ball and believe that this is actually the will of the people. All of a sudden,we are to believe the millions of Tea Party Conservatives just disappeared and 2010 never happened? Even though we have more reason’s since then to be motivated and you people aren’t questioning this?

     I’ll have more on this early tomorrow morning on the open thread,including the thoughts of the "Ulsterman Reports" "White House Insider". Let’s just say that after analyzing the exit polling numbers and realizing they made no sense, WHI said this is "Venezuela" in regards to the lack of legitimacy of this election. We can’t take this lying down.

    • socon

      Do you really think things would have been much different under Mitt Romney?  I’m not so sure.

      Also, I’ve heard the bs about the country being drastically different now and I keep yelling the same question, "How do you explain the Tea Party landslide two years ago?"

      • mark1955

        I’m not a fan of MITTEN’S at all. Remember,he was my former Governor and i am a victim of Romneycare. If you go back over past comments of mine,i’ve alway’s contended that MITTEN’S was picked by the Bushies to lose, Whether MITTEN’S knew it or not. That’s not the point though. This election was rigged so Obama would win and seemingly have a mandate,as an excuse to turn the Country hard left. They also want it as a reason to discard any last vestige of Conservatism,Tea Party or otherwise. If MITTEN’S won,they would have had to atleast slow down the leftward turn. Finally,they wanted to make sure that Jebbies place in line is preserved. The Bush family doesn’t mind if a dem is in for eight years,afterall they are all ‘New World Order’Lefties anyway’s. As long as a Bush owns the repub Presidency from here to eternity. They consider it their Royal Birthright and woe onto anyone who gets in their way.The Bush’s are insane.

        • socon

          I know you’re not a Mitt fan.  I’ve been looking for you because I wanted to tell you I think you were right about the Bush family.

          They don’t come across as evil do they?

          • mark1955

            Yes i believe they are literally the face of Evil and no,"They don’t come across as Evil". You know what they say about charm being the deadliest weapon. You can include most of the repub and dem political estblishment along with the people above them,such as: The Rotschilds,the Morgan banking family,the Rockefellers,Bill Gates and below them people like George Soros and the Bush’s,Bernanke,Cheney,Kissinger etc.These are the Oligarch’s. The people really in control.

             It’s been estimated that there between 6,000-7,000 of these so-called Oligarch’s in the world who are the real Powers that be. While there are about 7 Billion of us people. You have to look at it in those terms if we are going to win and we can and will defeat these monsters.

             These Oligarch’s ( The Bush’s included ) main goal in life,is to create a "New World Order,One World Government". That seemingly harmless name is a cover for enslaving the world and taking all the peoples property,than commiting mass genocide by murdering most of us they can’t use for slave labor.  That’s literally what this is about. To do this though,the United States of America,as the freest,strongest,most prosperous Country in the History of civilization has to be destoyed from within. Without us as an impediment to the evil in this world,the oligarch’s can have their way. The repub and dem congress are fully onboard this.

             The deliberate destruction of our Country economically,by overspending on welfare and entitlements,at the same time, crushing private business incentive,that would normally pay for this,by overegulation and taxation. When the economy then collapses,they are going to use that as an excuse to say the only way to pay our debt,is to get rid of our nuclear weapons and most of our conventional military forces. Then we are castrated militarily.At the same time our borders are wide open with mexicans and islamists pouring in diluting our sovereignthy and National character and indangering our security. All by design. Yes,the Bush’s and their ilk are pure Evil. That’s not even including they are the main force behind the attempted destruction of Governor Palin

             Inspite of all that and believing it is going to get alot worse before it gets better,we are going to defeat these tyrants.

            • socon

              JP Morgan was an evil little cuss. Doesn’t surprise me he is the father of the bottom-feeder General Electric (and MSNBC!).  Bill Gates creeps me out, too. 

              The GOP is complicit also–that’s why they attacked Sarah. They were worse than the creeps on the left.  Barbara Bush is a vicious old woman.

               I think I saw a video of the senior George Bush talking about The New World Order decades ago!  He was smug and always looked down on Reagan.

          • senator20526

             Dont tell me Jeb Bush couldn’t get the state of Florida to go Republican if he wanted to….which  he didnt…….That tells me how popular Jeb and Rubio are….NOT

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4L7MM3NFN5RTCPBF2IPKWDBSQU Charles

    With a nominating "process" that dragged on for months and gave every possible contender hours of prime-time, with SP not entering the race, what might have been done differently to achieve a different result?

    • c4pfan

      Simple.  Giving them a ROLE in the campaign!  Pretending she doesn’t exsist, not even mentioning her name at the convention!  Sarah has brought a ton to this party!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/4L7MM3NFN5RTCPBF2IPKWDBSQU Charles

        A good point, but it is my belief that Mitt’s personality and upbringing worked against him.  The LDS is heavily male-dominated, with limited roles for women.  Bain Capital didn’t have any powerful women in its leadership.

        To be blunt, Mitt is not built to take advice from a woman, despite his "binders full" of them.  Nor does he see any woman as his "equal."  Note that he lost the women’s vote by far more than enough to win the election.

        • socon

          I disagree.  Mitt has been lauded for all of the strong women he placed in leadership positions when he was governor of Mass.

          I think it was Sarah’s conservatism not her gender he found objectionable.

        • senator20526

           That explains why Obama got the women’s vote.

          • socon

             You’re being charitable.  You’ve omitted the stupidity factor.

      • socon

        It’s so simple it’s mind boggling.  The GOP really knows how to be vicious to their own.

        Too bad they can’t bring themselves to try it on our opposition.

    • Exgunman

      For one thing , a discussion of issues and proposed solutions, even in general terms, instead of burying/drowning out the other candidates with massive amounts of ads/money and telling LIE AFTER LIE AFTER LIE about them and they not having that amt of money to counter act them. Also the other candidates were having to try and correct the LIES with what money they had, and it left nothing to use to discuss issues. Romney’s methods were no better than obama’s. I do regret that romney lost given the alternative, but I still think he was a bullying, mean and vindictive candidate during the primaries against conservatives, Newt in particular,and then went soft when he was up against his own kind (liberal ) instead of taking it to him constantly from day one………………………………………..

      • socon

         Mean and sneaky.  It was the sneaky part that p!ssed me off.  lol

    • excopconservative

       Couldn’t win this election after Romney kicked social conservatives and TEA Party people in the teeth.  Many, myself included, thought they would turn out anyway even after Sarah was locked out of the convention, but many had been injured beyond repair.  Some may never vote Republican again. 

      • socon

         I agree.  Republicans won’t win again if they keep dissing the base.  Screw ‘em.

  • c4pfan

    Thank you Aged P!  I totally agree.  The GOP keeps thinking Republicans are the same as Rats, when they aren’t.  Giving them no role or skin in the game is just asking for trouble.  Putting in a guy that had no base of voters and thus had to introduce himself ALL over again (not to mention no core values, but wanting to win).

  • Right_Wingnut

    I hate to toot my own horn, but this is what I’ve been saying all along. It’s not about winning the "middle."

    • socon

       Romney won the middle and lost the base.  I wonder why.

      • senator20526

         You are both correct……It’s time for a meeting of Conservatives…Tea Party leaders, and conservative political leaders……It’s time for us to set the agenda…..not the Bushes and the RNC.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suki-Pero/100001668382968 Suki Pero

          You are correct senator.  We should start by cancelling our affiliation with any of the two major parties.  Register independent until the new party is formed. 

      • c4pfan

        Try telling that to stupid Ann Coulter!

        • socon

          Stan was in full CYA mode tonight.  She blamed Obama’s incumbency for Romney’s defeat.

          Horse’s azz.

      • patnatasha

        because getting the middle is much more important then getting the base in the general.

        • socon

           Well, how did that work out for Romney?  Is that how Obama won?

  • http://profiles.google.com/ttiss01 T D Williams

    Two big factors in the down turn in votes.

    1. As you note, the enthusiasm inspired by Sarah Palin, who is the only candidate ever able to draw the same type of huge crowds as Obama in 2008 and the most exciting conservative speaker in the nation (see this year’s CPAC).

    2. Obama inspired his base, and Romney went for independents which he actually won (50% to 45% for Obama).  But since neither conservatives nor independents over-performed their 2008 stats, it wasn’t enough. 

    Liberals over-performed in voting by 4% their population percentage while conservatives under-performed by 5%.  Gallup has self-identifying conservatives at 40% and liberals at 21%.  In exit polls 35% of voters self-identified as conservatives and  25% liberal.  Liberals over-performed by 4% and conservatives underperformed by 5%.  That’s a 9% lack of equivalent conservative voters–or about 3.7 million votes.  Enough to have swung this election.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suki-Pero/100001668382968 Suki Pero

      1.  Obama has a big stick.  Joe Biden.
      2.  When it is your first time you want it to be with someone who has a big stick.
      3.  Tax the rich and get your free stuff.  They owe you.
      4.  Get some precious revenge.
      5.  If you have some money, you didn’t come by it honestly so relieve some of your guilt by pretending to care about the little people who don’t have as much as you.
      6.  Gee isn’t Obama cool for coming up with all these clever things.  We’re hip, we should vote for him.

      Good lord, where are some real values in this country?

      • http://profiles.google.com/ttiss01 T D Williams

        Those are the values of 21% of Americans who are liberals.  They turned out in droves,while too many of the 40% of conservatives didn’t bother to vote.  3.7 million if you use the same stats as the liberals who over-performed in voting.  A Sarah Palin might have had conservatives over-performing too and have won the election by the same amount Obama is winning over Romney right now.

        • socon

           Obama didn’t insult his base–Romney did.  We both know who won the election.

  • huan vu

    In retrospect I think we should all foreseen an Obama reelection. In 2008 Obama got elected not based on the Democratic platform, Obama got elected as a person. There was a cult of personality around Obama.
    Though diminished some, that cult of personality remains in 2012. Thus it did not matter that Obama lied about Benghazi or Romney. Thus it did not matter that the economy remains as bad today as it was when he took office. Thus it did not matter that he broke so many promises. To his followers he was their guy, and their vote was his. Loyal fans cheer for their team even in losing season.

    The Democrats should not assume the turn out in 2008 and 2012 will be duplicated in 2016. It
    wasn’t about the Democratic turnout, it was the Obama turnout.

  • conservativemama

    Okay, who watched O’Reilly tonight?  Bob Beckel.  Bill asking Bob why was turnout for Republicans lower.  Neither man dared mention Sarah Palin, eventhough I was shouting at them from my sectional.  My husband told me forget it, they’re dancing all around it but won’t dare say it out loud.  I know that’s true.

    Also, Bill asking Bob why do single women go for the Dems and married women for the Republicans.  They’re perplexed.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………..perhaps because the single gals have replaced husbands with the government.  They’re so liberated they need an entire government to provide for them.

    • c4pfan

      That’s why I don’t bother watching his show!

    • socon

      You have my condolences for watching that blowhard.  lol 

      I flipped the channel–just couldn’t take it after yesterday.  Is it just me or is O’Reilly getting dumber?

      • conservativemama

        He is the simple man he claims to be.

  • TeflonWarrior

    I watched BOR perplexed, talking to Bob Beckel tonight about just what could have made a 3 million turnout difference.  Like watching the Grinch perplexed why the Who’s were still singing.  I felt like running onto the set and screaming a name…

    Let me hear your Momma Grizzly Roar!!!  

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