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Parsing the Polls: California Dreaming

The decision by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the Democratic legislature to move up California's presidential primary makes the state the crown jewel of the emerging national primary on February 5, 2008.

Given California's massive size and the prohibitive cost of advertising in there, it is harder for an unknown candidate to grow his or her support quickly than in a small state. On the flip-side, California's size makes it more challenging for a known candidate to change his or her image in the eyes of the voters.

So where you start in California matters a lot more than in other states. And a new Field poll helps set a marker for the Democratic presidential primary.

Let's Parse the Polls!

Not surprisingly, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) starts out with a solid lead over the rest of the field. Clinton received 41 percent support in the Field poll, with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in second at 28 percent and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) third with 13 percent. No other candidate took more than 4 percent in the sample.

These numbers mirror a survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California earlier this month. That poll showed Clinton at 35 percent followed by Obama (24 percent) and Edwards (14 percent). Again, no other candidate cracked 6 percent.

The Field poll, which was in the field from March 20 to 31, also asked about a hypothetical Democratic presidential primary match-up that included former Vice President Al Gore, who continues to leave the door slightly open to a 2008 bid. Clinton still led with 31 percent to Gore's 25 percent and Obama's 21 percent. Edwards took 8 percent. Using this poll as a guide, a Gore candidacy would draw support away from all of the top-tier candidates: With Gore in the field, Clinton dropped 10 points, Obama 7 points and Edwards 5 points.

Lucky for us, the Field poll also released a number of demographic comparisons that let us go deeper into the numbers.

What does a Clinton voter look like, according to this data? A Latino (59 percent support for Clinton) living in Los Angeles County (51 percent) and with a high school degree or less (62 percent).

Contrast that with the profile of respondents most likely to back Obama: A college graduate (32 percent for Obama) living in either the San Francisco Bay area or northern California (30 percent) who is between 18 and 39 years of age (39 percent).

Add Gore to the mix and it becomes apparent that he and Obama run strongest among similar groups. Gore beats Clinton by 6 points (28 percent to 22 percent) in the Bay Area while trailing her by mid-single digits in the state's other regions. White voters favor Gore 26 percent to 24 percent, while college graduates opt for Gore 28 percent to 22 percent.

At this still early stage in the race for the Democratic nomination, the contest in California seems likely to come down to the big three -- Clinton, Obama and Edwards (or four if Gore decides to run).

Eighty percent of likely Democratic primary voters said there was a "good" (49 percent) or "some" (31 percent) chance they would vote for Clinton next February. Seventy-seven percent (44 good/33 some) said the same of Obama, while 76 percent (47 good/28 some) said the same of Gore. Edwards trailed slightly with 28 percent of the sample saying there was a "good" chance and 46 percent saying there was "some" chance they would pull the lever for the former North Carolina senator.

Compare that to the stunning numbers of voters who said there was "no chance" they would vote for one of the second-tier candidates. Roughly half of the sample (49 percent) said they would not consider casting a ballot for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, while majorities said the same of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (57 percent), Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (63 percent) and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (65 percent).

It goes without saying that voters' views of candidates can and often do change. But what the Field poll shows is that the three candidates likely to have the financial resources to play seriously in the California primary also happen to be the candidates with the best initial positioning. For a candidate outside of the Big Three to win, place or show in California, he or she must hope that victories in early states like Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina translate into significant momentum and money. For now, though, California's primary appears to be a frontrunner's paradise.

(Background on the Field poll is online here.)

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 4, 2007; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Parsing the Polls  
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Comments

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 9, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

DTM: When you want "evidence" of why Obama can't win in 08, you are in reality agreeing/stating that he cannot win, although this is in your "sub-mind", I don't know how to spell 'conscious", just a guess, so I used mind. The polls at this stage have some meaning, but not much. Each one can be used for or against just about anyone, but they will be used mainly by the front runners. Richardson will be in the headlines soon for the mission he is going on in N. korea, I think. He, btw, is my second choice fot POTUS, and would be a great choice for Hillary as VP, State, or UN.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked earlier if California was a winner take all state in terms of delegates.
I believe that Democrats dole out the delegates proportional to the percentage that the candidate gets (with a 15% minimum vote threshold) in each Congressional district and the state overall. There might be like 500 or so delegates total with some being superdelegates free to support whoever they want.
Republicans have a more winner takes all system and apparently Romney is trying to work that system to do better than expected. The winner of each Congressional district will win all the delegates alloted to that district. I guess it is just as important to win CA-08 in San Francisco as it is to win CA-42 in Orange County.

Regardless, the media won't care who won how many delegates. The candidate with the highest vote total will be seen as the winner regardless of how many delegates s/he gets.

Posted by: gomer | April 4, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

oil oil oil halliburton oil halliburton neocons

Posted by: Howard | April 4, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

lylepink,

My only point is that in order for Clinton to win the nomination, she and her supporters will have to sell her perceived strengths to the primary voters.

As for whether Obama has zero chance to win the general election: Obama is doing better than Clinton in head-to-head polling against Giuliani, McCain, and Romney. Again, I think your argument for preferring Clinton over Obama has to be based on why you think she would be a better President. Simply declaring without any substantial evidence that Obama can't win the general election will not persuade many people.

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

William: Your reference points is why I do not use them. I have stated how easy it is to take even a couple words and use them to your advantage. DTM: There is no need for a Plan B, Hillary is doing just fine. Many of you ask why my strong support for Hillary, and a few days ago I mentioned how I had done research on her going back to her childhood. I found her to be one of the most remarkable persons I have ever came across. The intellegence, not only book learning, but the common sense she displays in most cases. Compassion for the least among us, working for children, eldery, and most other things that are so important to most of us. I cannot find this in any of the others to a degree that she has for them.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

And now Hillary is hudled with Bill and advisors to figure out what to do: http://www.solidpolitics.com

Posted by: William | April 4, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

DTM: I am only correcting errors made by others about me, as I now will correct you. I have never stated the other candidates would "go away". I have stated many times that, imo, Obama has ZERO chance of being elected POTUS in 08. That is why I keep reminding folks to get theit FACTS straight.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Well I've stated my misgivings about so many primaries loaded up front in February. But it is a sign of the times.

The old days when there were just a few primary states, that controlled only a small minority of cenvention delegates, is long gone. It used to be the primaries were just one cog in the wheel, where a candidate could "prove electability" to the major players in the party who truely controlled most of the delegates.
Now primaries are just about the only thing. Iowa can make some differece, but one has to be cautious about relying on polls there. Iowa is still a caucus state, which means that the candidate who gets the most voters to caucus gatherings in the various counties and precints of Iowa is the one that can win. Funds can help that task, but it is maybe the one place left where a candidate with strong grass roots organization but less money, might prevail, thus atracting voters and contributions that may allow that candidate to compete in the primaries.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | April 4, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Polls here in April of 2007 just can't be counted on to last until the end of January of 2008, much less Feb. With Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina up early, California will still be up for grabs in both party primaries. It looks like New Hampshire may be the only state wrapped up: in which I have McCain and Clinton looking good there. South Carolina is propably all wrapped up for McCain on the Republican side, having both gov. Sanford and sen. Graham's support. But being the birth state of John Edwards and Hillary winning in the polls, it could get interesting. Iowa is going to be very competitive for both parties. It looks like Edwards/Clinton and McCain/Guiliani are the early front-runners. This doesn't mean much in Iowa at that stage. Tommy Thompson is basing his whole campaign on an Iowa win, should he pull it off he could become a force overnight in the Republican primary. Romney will begin swift boating Guiliani in Iowa soon, so it will get very interesting to see where votes go when Guiliani begins to lose them. But for the dems., it looks to be a Clinton/Edwards race. One has to wonder about Nevada...and will senator Reid and Ensign make any endorsements? If so, they could play huge. If not, then who has the oganization there to pull it off? Nevada could be up for grabs for both parties.

Posted by: reason | April 4, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

lylepink,

I appreciate your attempt to psychoanalyze me, but your premise may be inaccurate. I personally do not prefer Clinton among the people in the Democratic field (although I am not a Democrat, so my feelings on that issue are somewhat irrelevant), but I would also not describe myself as an opponent of Clinton. I just think other candidates have more to offer.

And for your own sake, I think you need to understand that there are undoubtedly many people like me in the Democratic party. To win such voters, it will be necessary for Clinton and her supporters to do more than declare her inevitability and then accuse anyone who does not support her of "envy/jealousy". Rather, you will have to come up with persuasive arguments about why she would in fact make the best candidate and the best President.

In other words, for a long time in your posts here, you have basically taken the line that Obama and the other candidates would just inevitably go away. Well, it is more than clear at this point that these other candidates aren't just going to disappear on their own. So my advice to you as a Clinton supporter is that you need to come up with Plan B, which would be coming up with arguments actually designed to win votes for Clinton, rather than simply insulting those who do not support her already.

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Lyle, stop whining!

Posted by: Everybody else | April 4, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: Read you own post " " me. I simply stated it would not be a suprise, if it did happen, and not did it actually happen. Go back to school and learn to read.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

DTM: You are correct in that I am not changing my registration. The thing most of you Hillary opponents have in common is the "envy/jealous" factor that you cannot admit even to yourself. The rebubs are in such bad shape now, they will try almost anything.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink, I've got my facts straight. I've even got a quote:
"The funds raised by Obama is impressive, and now comes the fun part in breaking down just where and who they are coming from. I will not be suprised to find a lot coming from repubs, for he is the least feared by them except Dennis."

So, yes, you did say that you think a lot of Obama's money/support comes from Republicans. That's ludicrous and entirely unsupported by the facts.

Posted by: Blarg | April 4, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Lyle, in re: "hidden vote" - what do you know that the people who make their living talking about this do not? could it be a vast electoral conspiracy?

"Mirrow, mirrow, on da raw.."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

PS, "Maybe," is considerably more than, I doubt it.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | April 4, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: Get your FACTS straight before you start jumping on me. No way did I say Obama was supported mainly by repubs. You accuse me of being STUPID, look in the mirrow.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

meuphys, maybe.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | April 4, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, lylepink did not, and probably cannot, address the very sensible point that it makes no sense for a Republican to support a nominally weaker Democrat in their primaries (and I somewhat doubt Republicans view Hillary as a particularly strong candidate) when there is no guarantee that their preferred Republican candidate will get their own party's nomination.

In fact, one might ask lylepink if he is reregistering as a Republican so that he can vote for the weakest candidate to face Hillary. I suspect not.

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

JimDinFL: My idea of repubs switching to vote in the primary is not out of the question when you have so many of them running away from GW. The Iraq situation will/must be figured into the mix, and this is my main reason for thinking McCain is toast, although I know of other things that surely would, if revealed. The repubs are going to find someone that is not in race as yet, for they think none of the present field can win. I get this from my main tipster. The repubs are/will throw everything at Hillary, for she is the one they fear most. A lot of states require you to register a month before the primary and others have same day. I keep getting this "hidden" vote for Hillary and am starting to think I may have under estimated by a factor as high as 6 or 7%, when I have it at around 4%.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I think Richardson is doing fine in these early polls. He started with almost no national name recognition, but has emerged as the consistent #4 in polls (such as both the California polls cited here) over people like Biden and Dodd, and he has also done relatively well in fund-raising despite not having the broad connections of a Senator. I think that represents, among other things, the relative strength of his diversified resume.

Of course, he has a lot of work to do, and I think the debates will be crucial for him. But so far, I think he should be happy with the progress he has made.

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Anon:

Exactly my point. There are permissive uses of this type of email mining and those that are just well - kind of scummy. If I go to moveon.org and sign a petition to declare George Bush the devil (surprised they haven't thought of that one yet), I can kind of guess they are going to spam me. I would not however guess that Edwards would send funding solicitations for signing a sympathy card for his wife. See aforementioned reference to kind of scummy. What they should do is just admit it was a mistake and stop the practice. Trying to defend it as everyone does it is a bad idea.

Posted by: TG | April 4, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

You can have a "good" chance of voting for more than one candidate if a "good" chance can be below 50%. And at this stage, that makes sense--suppose you had a 40% chance of voting for Candidate A, a 40% chance of voting for Candidate B, and a 20% chance of voting for anyone else in the field combined. I'd say it would be reasonable to claim you had a good chance of voting for both Candidate A and Candidate B.

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

It's Golden State, not Sunshine State.

Posted by: SoCalNative | April 4, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

They ask each likely primary voter "Is there a good chance you would vote for HRC next February?" and then note the response. If it's N, they ask the SAME voter "Is there some chance you would vote for HRC next February?" and then note the response. Then they ask the SAME voter "Is there a good chance you would vote for Obama next February?" and then note the response. Etc.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 4, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Judge

Being a retired naval officer, I have lived in many different places - RI, GA, SC, VA, FL, CA, WA on active duty. Grew up in RI lived in MA and CT before Navy. Also lived in Guam and Italy.

Posted by: JimD in FL | April 4, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Great post Xplainplease. I would like an explanation, too. Usually people are too proud to say they don't understand something. They don't want to be embarassed. An old professor once told me the only stupid question is the one you should have asked.

These California figures make no sense. Even just adding up the "good" chance of voting for someone comes to 168% for just the top four. It makes no sense. Come on you regular political junkies. Parse the polls so it makes sense. I'm always willing to learn.

Posted by: MidwestDem | April 4, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I am starting to dream of a Gore-Obama ticket, but I am not too sure that, even if Gore hopped into the race, Obama would quickly move over to his VP side. And I think that's the only way Gore gets real traction in the primaries. Still, I am going to choose optimism because that would be a dream ticket.

Posted by: Not just nostalgia | April 4, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your concern about my wife's cancer. By the way, while I'm thanking you would you like to send me some money for my campaign for president? Try to spin it anyway you want, that's politics at its lowest. Just short of soliciting campaign contributions at an American Cancer Society banquet. Edwards must be having Hillary and Obama nightmares to stoop this low.

Posted by: Demsdafacts | April 4, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

jeff-for-progress, i would vote for gore/obama in the blink of an eye... but i'm really not convinced al would run again. what do you think?

Posted by: meuphys | April 4, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Someone please explain what this means!

Eighty percent of likely Democratic primary voters said there was a "good" (49 percent) or "some" (31 percent) chance they would vote for Clinton next February. Seventy-seven percent (44 good/33 some) said the same of Obama, while 76 percent (47 good/28 some) said the same of Gore. Edwards trailed slightly with 28 percent of the sample saying there was a "good" chance and 46 percent saying there was "some" chance they would pull the lever for the former North Carolina senator.

Polls are supposed to reflect a basic sample of 100% or say 100 voters. So this statement above says 80% for Clinton, 77% for Obama, 76% for Gore, and 74% for Edwards. That adds up to 307%. That's impossible. You can't have 307 voters out of 100 voting for these candidates?

Should the statement be saying, which it doesn't, that these are the percentage of a candidates voters who are fairly firm in their votes. In that case each candidate has over 50% of their voters that may switch to another candidate. With that fluidity in the votes the poll becomes useless. Which it is anyway if it is accounting for 307% of the voters. Comments?

Posted by: Xplainplease | April 4, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

anonymous says: "Richardson comes off as being faceless and shrouded in paper. He comes off as being no more than the sum of his qualifications."
first of all, do you think that could possibly be because national attention has been focused almost exclusively on obama, edwards, and clinton? and the funds have followed the attention, of course. richardson doesn't really have a national constituency yet - despite being the first major hispanic candidate for president - and doesn't have the money to buy the airtime, so he must be judged on his "qualifications," more traditionally referred to as his "record."
but what other evidence do we have for ANY candidate's ability, other than his / her record?

Posted by: meuphys | April 4, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse


What of the revelation in Wapo today that Edwards uses emails captured on his website that are intended to wish his wife well in her fight against cancer?

[yawn] 'Revelation' that he uses emails captured on his website? That's SOP and duh. They all do. What do you think a website is for?

Scraping the bottom of the barrel is what that's called. Try harder.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Lyle, way to put lipstick on a pig... although some would say, with your choice of candidate, you've been doing that all along. Obama is a strong candidate who has been raising money the smart way - just about equalling Shrillary's total while developing a larger and more diverse donor base.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Add Gore to the mix and it becomes apparent that he and Obama run strongest among similar groups. Gore beats Clinton by 6 percent (28 percent to 22 percent) in the Bay Area while trailing her by mid-single digits in the state's other regions. White voters favor Gore 26 percent to 24 percent, while college graduates opt for Gore by a 28 percent to 22 percent margin.

What this means to me is that if I were Barack Obama considering the best way to build a firm base for the presidency, I would run with Al Gore. First, because Gore allied with him can knock off Hillary. Second, because in the general a Gore-Obama team would be stronger than any team that Obama might head. Third, that the Democrats have learned something about the importance of the loyalty of the base from the Republicans-- you know the folks who will never say die for George. I believe a similar phenomena might occur with Gore-Obama. Heck, Im willing to lose with them and be happy I did the right thing, because I believe any other team would have lost-- and that they together represent the best hope for the type of Democratic party I want to see in the future.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | April 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Eric: It might be because Richardson is so far behind. In a competitive primary, you don't want to vote for a candidate you don't think can win, because then your vote is wasted. It wouldn't be a problem if we had a better electoral system that didn't encourage strategic voting.

Speaking of strategic voting, lylepink, your suggestion that Obama is mostly supported by Republicans is absolutely ridiculous. Unless you have any proof besides your incredibly biased speculation, you shouldn't go around saying such stupid things.

Posted by: Blarg | April 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

What of the revelation in Wapo today that Edwards uses emails captured on his website that are intended to wish his wife well in her fight against cancer?

Posted by: TG | April 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Small world: I grew up in FL (TLH) and lived in CA (Silly Valley) about 20 years ago (seems like yesterday).

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 4, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Eric -

Richardson comes off as being faceless and shrouded in paper. He comes off as being no more than the sum of his qualifications.

America is hiring a president. You don't ever want to hire someone who only looks good on paper. Those people can turn out to be disasters in the workplace.

I'm not saying Richardson is only good on paper because I don't really know him. But this is how he comes off as being to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

lylepink,

I don't think you'll find many Republicans trying to vote in Democratic primaries when their own race is so competitive.

Posted by: JimD in FL | April 4, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

eric - I think that the poll results in California about Richardson are more about name recognition and familiarity than anything else. I agree that Richardson is by far the most qualified of the announced Democratic candidates.

My ideal ticket for the Dems is Richardson-Clark. Given that Richardson is Hispanic, I believe he will pick a white male as his running mate. I also think such a ticket will have national security credentials that the Republicans cannot match with the current crop of candidates. That ticket also combines extensive executive and national security experience with distance from Washington.

Posted by: JimD in FL | April 4, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The funds raised by Obama is impressive, and now comes the fun part in breaking down just where and who they are coming from. I will not be suprised to find a lot coming from repubs, for he is the least feared by them except Dennis. Another thing to look for is repubs changing their registration to dem, for in a lot of states you can only vote for the party you are registered with, as well as a lot of I's. More than likely to play is something simular to that in Conn. We are in for a fun time until Feb..

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Judge - you got me there - I was in a hurry when I read this post and missed that obvious goof. I even lived in California for a while about 30 years ago.

Sean Scallon - I do not necessarily agree that front-loading makes Iowa and New Hampshire more important. Frontloading could mean that a well-funded, well-known candidate (Hillay, Rudy for example) could stumble in the early small states but overwhelm the others in the big states where expensive TV advertising is more crucial. It only makes the small states more important IF a lesser known candidate does well there AND translates that to lots of money and name recognition VERY quickly. The old schedule gave such candidates more time to build on that early success before having to engage in a a lot of states at once or mega-states like California, Texas, New York and Florida.

Posted by: JimD in FL | April 4, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I find it surprising that half say they wouldn't consider voting for Richardson. He's by far the most qualified of the candidates, and I'm not aware of any serious negatives that he has.

Posted by: Eric | April 4, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Progressive,

My understanding is that there is very little love lost between Gore and Hillary, so why do you think he would endorse her?

Andy R.,

Edwards was the Democratic Party's 2004 VP nominee. On the strength of name recognition alone, he should be at or near the top of these early polls, particular in states like California where retail politics is basically impossible and the serious ad spending has not yet begun. So, the fact that he is so far back from both Clinton and Obama is actually terrible news for him at this stage.

Similarly, the fact that far more people only gave "some" chance of voting for Edwards, rather than a "good" chance, indicates the same basic problem: Edwards likely has around the same name recognition as Clinton and Obama, and as others have pointed out, that is likely driving the "some chance" numbers. But among those people, there is again clear a strong preference for either Clinton or Obama over Edwards. Again, that is just terrible news for him.

The bottomline is that Edwards is very well known to Democrats, and yet Democrats obviously are not particularly enthused about making him their Presidential nominee. That really is not good for him. Of course, if he was a relative unknown like Richardson, these would be pretty good numbers--but he isn't a relative unknown, and the proper comparison is to someone like Clinton (and maybe Obama, although arguably Edwards should be well ahead at this stage of a junior Senator from Illinois who has never run for a national office before).

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Just keep drinking that koolaid, gopie. ...

'By the beginning of the coming year, we will be forced to downsize our deployment to Iraq or the Army will begin to unravel.'

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

2004: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General [INSERT CURRENT COMMANDER NAME HERE] is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
2005: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General [INSERT CURRENT COMMANDER NAME HERE] is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
2006: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General [INSERT CURRENT COMMANDER NAME HERE] is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
2007: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General Petraeusis now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
2008: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General [INSERT CURRENT COMMANDER NAME HERE] is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
2009: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General [INSERT CURRENT COMMANDER NAME HERE] is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
2010: "I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.
The counterinsurgency strategy that General [INSERT CURRENT COMMANDER NAME HERE] is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.
etc, etc.

Posted by: ashamedtobeGOP | April 4, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"For a candidate outside of the Big Three to win, place or show in California, he or she must hope that victories in early states like Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina translate into significant momentum and money.

What do you know, frontloading makes Iowa and New Hampshire all that more important.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | April 4, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Obama raised over 25 million which ties him with Hillary and he raised it from over 100,000 donations.
Anyway you slice it that is great news for Obama and terrible news for Hillary Clinton.

Maybe I am cynic but I would expect the attacks to begin very soon from the Clinton camp.

Posted by: Andy R | April 4, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

coward,
Since Barry McCaffrey is no longer 'top brass' but instead a paid talking-head for LSM tv shows, I will continue to rely on General Petraeus' analysis since he is in fact the one who knows.

However, McCaffrey, just back from Iraq, said sentiment on the street in Baghdad is against having U.S. troops rapidly withdrawal.

"I mean that's just not what's going on in downtown Baghdad. They recognize there would be a flippin' nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal," he said, noting that Iraqis are not yet ready to defend their country.

The counterinsurgency strategy that General Petraeus is now pursuing is a strategy that has a chance to give the Iraqis a new opportunity to get their political reconciliation in place.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I live in the SF Bay area, and Gore has been showing up a lot here recently. He was at a sold out event in SF last night talking about global warming.
If he does get in the race, there are a lot of deep pockets in California that will come flying open.

Posted by: Cali49 | April 4, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

O'Reilly: I believe that, but I don't know if you're going to be able to rally the American public after four years of disappointment in that theater. And my analysis is the Iraqi people themselves haven't stepped up. They're more interested in killing each other than they are in forming a democratic nation ... You are not having a success in the hearts and minds in Iraq. There's simply too many killers there, too many factions that don't want democracy. And I'm not sure, no matter what surge you have, that you can overcome the Iraqi people not cooperating.

Posted by: et tu, bill o'reilly? | April 4, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Blarg: Judge has it on target. Read my 10:04 AM post and you can see where the FACTS really are, and no amount of spin can get GW away from The FACTS. The problem cannot be solved by the Court, for GW has that branch of Gov. in his back pocket, so to speak. The post by "amused" brings a little legal question into play, and I think he wins, by his Supreme picks he has gotten good insurance.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

DTM, I don't think these poll numbers are bad at all for Edwards. In particular, this line
"Edwards trailed slightly with 28 percent of the sample saying there was a "good" chance and 46 percent saying there was "some" chance they would pull the lever for the former North Carolina senator"
That means that 74% might vote for him which is just as high as Clinton and Obama. With 14 million that he raised and the lead he has in Iowa Edwards is in a very good position IMO.
By the way Elizabeth Edwards found out today that her cancer can be treated with hormonal therapy which is much less invasive then traditional chemo which is good news for her.

Posted by: Andy R | April 4, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

'By the beginning of the coming year, we will be forced to downsize our deployment to Iraq or the Army will begin to unravel.'

This is what the top brass is saying, gopies. Do you know better than him, chickenhawks?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, I posted a few moments too soon. Obama raised $25 million, which means he is keeping pace with Hillary. That's mighty impressive. The Clinton campaign has good reason to be nervous.

Posted by: Progressive | April 4, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

'Iraq is being ripped apart by a low-grade civil war compounded by a dysfunctional, Shiite-dominated government. As many as 3,000 Iraqis are being killed or kidnapped a month, and American forces have suffered more than 27,000 killed and wounded.

Our troops face thousands of attacks each month from Sunni and Shiite Arabs employing improvised explosive devices (more than 2,900 a month), snipers, rocket and mortar fire, mines and, recently, suicide truck bombings rigged to release noxious chlorine gas. The "burn rate" on the Iraq war is $9 billion a month. The Iraqis are in despair. Three million are refugees or have fled the country. The ill-equipped Iraqi police and army suffered 49,000 casualties in the last 14 months. There is no security in most of the country under the government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

The threat we face is huge. More than 100,000 armed militia members and insurgents confront central authorities. Murderous attacks on the innocent civilian Shiite population and their mosques provokes a response of brutality and ethnic cleansing against the vulnerable Sunni civilian population.

U.S. forces have arrested more than 120,000 suspects and hold more than 27,000 as detainees. We have killed about 20,000 of these armed fighters. However, the armed struggle shows few signs of disruption.

Iraq's neighbors have intensified the civil war as an extension of their own larger Shiite-Sunni conflict for power â€" or as a reaction to the presence of a foreign presence in Iraq. This war is primarily an internal struggle, with the preponderance of the leadership, fighters, money and armaments generated inside Iraq.

The American people have walked away from support of this war. The Army is beginning to show signs of great strain. Many units are now on their third combat tour, and the tours are being routinely extended. Recruiting standards are being lowered. Our equipment is shot. By the beginning of the coming year, we will be forced to downsize our deployment to Iraq or the Army will begin to unravel.

Only through the success of reconciliation talks can the bitter civil strife be moderated. We are running out of time. . . .The United States is now at a crossroads. We are in a position of strategic peril.'

Posted by: General McCaffrey | April 4, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait for Obama's fundraising report today. I know the suspense is killing the Clinton campaign, which Obama seems to enjoy.

I think Gore will endorse Hillary later this year, so he'll wait for the moment at which he can be most effective with his endorsement.

Posted by: Progressive | April 4, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Alone among the Democratic candidates, Senator Clinton is running a national campaign that is focussed on the general election.

She has not done the retailing that the others are doing in NH or Ia instead focussing on Florida and large metro areas.

Clinton has recognized that the bellwether qualities of the NH and IA contests have been destroyed by the front loading of the political calendar and has realized that she will be campaigning against the GOP by next March if she wins sufficient delegates in the early primaries to secure the nomination.

It is important for the country that all of the Democratic candidates come to this realization and that they begin their Presidential campaigns now in order to define themselves to the public before the GOP swift-boating begins.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, NY

Posted by: robert chapman | April 4, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm still wondering when Chris will admit these are terrible poll numbers for Edwards.

Anyway, Golgi, here is some polling data from Illinois on Obama:

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=9acde2f2-da64-4175-bb54-121eaf30bb18

Note that he has high approval ratings across the board, but even higher approval ratings among Hispanics than Whites. So, I think your thesis is correct: Obama very likely has a lot of untapped upside potential in Hispanic communities across the country, just as he did (and indeed probably still does) in Black communities.

Posted by: DTM | April 4, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

mitt just a bush retread, whose policies will be exactly the same. the man is a cipher.

'Mitt Romney believes that the war still has "a reasonable probability of success," and when asked just this morning if his policy would be the same as President Bush's, he said "of course."

Posted by: Bigfoot | April 4, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"we should all remember why he's actually going to veto the spending bill, and it's not because he doesn't care about funding the troops and the war."

blarg -thanks for that clarification; you are exactly right.

About the Field poll - I find it very interesting that the less educated a voter is, the more likely it is that they will vote for Clinton. lylepink- why do you keep lobbing attacks at McCain? Maybe you're worried that the smart voters would chose him over your candidate as well.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 4, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

amused, you are correct. If that is what Rudy is suggesting, then Rudy is dreaming. A president can't just send money somewhere when it is not appropriated by Congress. The fact that he even alludes to the possibility is frightening--and I used to work for the man.

Posted by: Not just nostalgia | April 4, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I have to say the idea of Gore running is growing on me. I just think he gives a damn. Watching him now and thinking how different the world would be if results in 2000 had stuck is not the only reason--I think he is a different man and would be a very different candidate seven years later. I want a candidate that has substance too, but I don't dismiss Gore as hype anymore. He has shown himself too much in recent weeks. A colleague is convinced a Gore-Obama ticket is in the making, and if so, I don't think Republicans have a chance or a prayer--ESPECIALLY if the evangelicals float an independent to hit into the base.

Posted by: Not just nostalgia | April 4, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

California will be decided by the immigration issue. Since nobody has really started talking about that yet I think these numbers are extremely premature.

Posted by: Andy R | April 4, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Rich Lowry from NRO, of all places, on the dictatorial proclivities of Rudy:

'Rudy was asked about the Iraq supplemental. He said he finds it "irresponsible and dangerous." Then he began to muse about, after a veto, "would the president have the constitutional authority to support them [the troops], anyway?" He said he's a lawyer so he wouldn't offer an opinion "off the top of his head," then he proceeded to do just that. He seemed to suggest that Bush could fund the Iraq war without Congress providing funding, but it was confusing. In an interview with a New Hampshire TV reporter after his remarks, he seemed more categorical and said, since the war had been authorized by Congress, the president has "the inherent authority to support the troops."

In a brief press availability in front of his campaign bus, I asked Rudy whether he was saying Bush could veto the supplemental and, in the absence of a deal with Congress, fund the troops in Iraq under his own authority. "If he vetoes it, he's going to have to find a way to support the troops," Rudy said. "They have given him the authorization to fight the war," and "Bush has the power to redirect the money and time to work something out" with Congress. The last bit suggests that maybe Rudy is thinking in terms of only the next few weeks and not making a broader claim about presidential authority (although he kept on saying "inherent authority" over and over).

But it wasn't quite clear what he meant, and his statements could be seized on by his critics to argue that he has a dangerously out-sized view of presidential powers. I'll defer to the lawyers in here, but my understanding is that Rudy is wrong: the president can't simply re-direct money Congress has appropriated for specific purposes. If Bush wanted to go down a very confrontational route, he could sign the supplemental and defy the timetable as unconstitutional, but he can't simply pull money out of nowhere or take it from elsewhere for his own preferred purposes.'

Posted by: amused | April 4, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

'Gingrich: When I Said 'Language Of Living In The Ghetto,' I Meant Hebrew (Or Maybe Yiddish)

Newt Gingrich said this past weekend that the U.S. should abolish bilingual education so that people aren't speaking "the language of living in a ghetto."

But last night on Hannity & Colmes, Gingrich claimed his statement "did not refer to Spanish." Gingrich insisted, "What I meant is very clear[]," but then wouldn't say which language he was referring to.

Gingrich said, "Now, I'll let you pick -- frankly, ghetto, historically had referred as a Jewish reference originally. I did not mention Hispanics, and I certainly do not want anybody who speaks Spanish to think I'm in any way less than respectful of Spanish or any other language spoken by people who come to the United States."

This is hilarious. Newt says everyone who speaks Spanish lives in the ghetto. I'm not a fan of bilingual education, I think if people want to live here, they should learn English. But the republicans sure aren't much good at pretending they're not racist.

Posted by: drindl | April 4, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

But Blarg, he's going to veto it and flat out state that the D's don't "care about funding the troops." Talking this kind of smack generates perceptions that win elections for the liars. Why not turn this distortion against him when he's arguably the only one turning up his nose at funding the troops?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 4, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Bush would approve the normal spending bill. But it includes provisions he doesn't like, so he's going to veto it. That doesn't mean he doesn't support the parts of the bill that involve funding the war. To say otherwise is just to repeat a Democratic talking point, based on a misrepresentation of reality.

It's the same as what happened to Kerry in the 2004 election. He was accused of voting against a spending bill for the war. Specifically he voted against it because of some provisions he didn't like, not because he didn't want to fund the war. But the Republicans and right-wing media distorted his vote to mean something else.

I'm no fan of Bush or the war in Iraq. But I think we should all remember why he's actually going to veto the spending bill, and it's not because he doesn't care about funding the troops and the war.

Posted by: Blarg | April 4, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Is the California primary winner-take all for either / both parties ?

Posted by: Mark Pilon | April 4, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

More details on what the Iraqi government has NOT done from Panetta's column in the NYT. How much more of our blood and money do they deserve? An infinite amount, according to Bush's actions (his words having no value whatsoever). This isn't how a businessman would run things. Bush has obviously become a devoted fan of big government.

"Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, little progress has been made. Consider efforts toward stabilizing democracy and achieving national reconciliation:
The Iraqis promised to achieve, by the end of 2006 or early 2007, the approval of a provincial election law (so far, no progress); approval of a law to regulate the oil industry and share revenues (while the Council of Ministers has approved a draft, it has yet to be approved by the Parliament); approval of the de-Baathification law to reintegrate officials of the former regime and Arab nationalists into public life (no progress); and approval of a law to rein in sectarian militias (no progress).
By March, the government promised to hold a referendum on constitutional amendments (no progress).
By May, the prime minister committed to putting in place the law controlling militias (no progress); the approval of the amnesty agreement (no progress); and the completion of all reconciliation efforts.
By June, the Iraqi government promised to hold provincial elections (no date has been set).
As for security issues, things are not going much better. The Iraqis have increased security spending over 2006 levels as promised, but they are falling behind on the number of battle-ready Army units.
By April, the Iraqis want to take over total control of the Iraq Army (not likely based on current progress).
By September, the Iraqis want to be given full civil control of all provinces (to date they control 3 of 18 provinces)."

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 4, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Bush may well veto the bill. All he wants is to get his way--his war--he doesb't give a damn about the troops and he never will. He was brought into office as in instrument to perform the will of the oil multinationals and that has always been everything he is about. You heard what condi said about this being a 'generational' waar -- they intend us to be in Iraq at least 20 years. Doesn't matter if it destroys our military -- the neocons will move to Dubai along wiht halliburton once they've completely sucked our treasury dry.

Posted by: kelso | April 4, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I L J: I think McCain is all but finished, and his trip to Iraq was nothing but a failure, IMO. The trip really got him the attention that he needed in the least, by putting the focus on what most of the country thinks is a wrong thing for us being there and the cost in human life, not only for our troops but the innocent folk in Iraq. The cost in $$'s cannot even be measured for there is no idea of how long we will be there. The veto of the bill passed is something the dems can use to show that in FACT GW is the one cutting off funds to our troops. I cannot see GW vetoing this bill, no matter the threat to do so, and this is where the real FACTS will come into play.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court's groundbreaking global warming decision removes the Bush administration's power to use the Clean Air Act as the scapegoat for its dereliction of duty in regulating pollutants.

--the mood is changing across the country

Posted by: Indianna editorial | April 4, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

After Utah, which holds a quarter of the church's 5.7 million U.S. members, the highest concentrations of Mormons are in Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Arizona, in that order. California, by virtue of its size, has the second-largest Mormon population in absolute terms -- about 750,000.

While the church is strongest in the West, it is represented in almost every corner of the country, in congregations organized into "stakes," "wards" and "branches." Its hierarchy is headed by a president and two counselors and a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, while congregations are led by laymen, a role Romney served.
........
Kem Gardner, a Utah developer whose family has given $140,000 to Romney's PACs, set up a meeting in Salt Lake City with a church apostle, a Romney consultant and one of Romney's sons. Documents obtained by the Boston Globe showed that the apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, suggested promoting Romney via the alumni association of the business school at church-owned Brigham Young University, a group with 5,500 members in 40 chapters.

Days later, two deans from the business school sent an e-mail rallying support for Romney to 150 members of the school's advisory council and 50 chapter leaders of the alumni association, the Management Society. Because it is legally part of church-owned BYU, the society is also prohibited from backing candidates.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"What does a Clinton voter look like, according to this data? A Latino (59 percent for Clinton) living in Los Angeles County (51 percent) and with a high school degree or less (62 percent)."

Has Obama even reached out to Latino voters yet? Maybe this demographic isn't familiar with him yet.

Remember back in December when everyone thought it was so odd that so many black voters were Clinton voters, but it turned out in February that as soon as they learned about Obama they became Obama voters.

I'd be curious to learn how Chicagoland Latinos feel about Obama.

Posted by: Golgi | April 4, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The fix just noted what was in the polls. If Al Gore would just come out and say "No way, no how, I'm not running, don't draft me, I will not serve, etc." then people would stop talking about it.

But he hasn't, he's played coy. I think he likes the attention, frankly.

Posted by: JD | April 4, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and should have been president.

Mitt will do well in Southern California, as there is a large Mormom population there:

'As he vies for a place in the top tier of contenders for the Republican nomination, Romney is reaping enormous benefits from being part of a growing religion that has traditionally emphasized civic engagement and mutual support. Mormons are fueling his strong fundraising operation, which this week reported raising $21 million, the most of any Republican candidate. And they are laying the foundation for a potent grass-roots network -- including a cadre of young church members experienced in door-to-door missions who say they are looking forward to hitting the streets for him.

"When Mormons get mobilized, they're like dry kindling. You drop a match and get impressive results quickly," said University of Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell, who is Mormon. "It's almost a unique group in the way in which it's organized at the local level and the channels through which mobilization can occur."

But the intensity of this support has a potential downside as Romney tries to establish an identity separate from a religion still regarded warily by many Americans -- a quarter of whom, polls suggest, do not want a Mormon president.'

Posted by: Sam | April 4, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Can we please just shut up about Al Gore running for president? The Fix needs to let it go. I also don't understand why people act like he was this huge Dem superstar back in the day. Yes he was the candidate in 2000 but this Al Gore love in is all hype and no substance.

Posted by: CBC | April 4, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"Roughly half of the sample (49 percent) said they would not consider casting a ballot for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, while majorities said the same of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (57 percent), Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (63 percent) and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (65 percent)."

As actual voting will be subject to ad campaigns that haven't materialized yet, this is more interesting than the results for the leading three candidates. Presumably the voters aren't interested in wasting their votes on total unknowns and this forms the basis for their opinion. Do they know something about Richardson that we don't?

BTW, IL, California is "The Golden State." Florida is "The Sunshine State." I'm surprised JimD didn't point this out.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 4, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.wsws.org
www.takingaimradio.info
www.onlinejournal.com

2008 election campaign: Hillary Clinton claims lead in the "money primary"

By Patrick Martin
3 April 2007

Demonstrating her appeal to the financial oligarchy which dominates official American politics, Senator Hillary Clinton reported raising $26 million in campaign contributions in the first quarter of 2007, nearly three times the previous record for any big business politician, Democrat or Republican, at this stage in a presidential campaign.

Clinton confirmed her position as a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in the "primary" that really counts: the contest for the support of the billionaires and millionaires, as well as business lobbyists, Hollywood moguls and the trade union bureaucracy.

While first-quarter reports are not legally required to be filed with the Federal Election Commission until April 15, the Clinton campaign released its report as early as possible, in an effort to intimidate rivals and win favorable media coverage. Similar public relations concerns led her leading rival, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, to delay releasing his own fund-raising figure, either so that it would not be overshadowed by the boxcar Clinton number, or to maximize the impact should he match or exceed her total.

Obama is believed to have raised considerably more than the $14 million reported by former senator John Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 2004, who stands third in early polls of likely Democratic primary voters. Other Democratic contenders reported smaller numbers: $6 million for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, $4 million for Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd and $3 million for Delaware Senator Joseph Biden.

For the rest please go to:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/apr2007/elec-a03.shtml

Posted by: che | April 4, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

By moving the primary to February, Calif. becomes a critical or must win for Hillary. I have Hillary at 288 Elect votes, that are in 20+ states. If, and this is not a big IF, I am fairly accurate on these, the 08 race will be all but over in February. I am not counting her out in Iowa as yet, and don't have her winning there, so that would be a great boost if she could get a win or even a close second.

Posted by: lylepink | April 4, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I believe that there should be several small state contests spread over a 4 to 6 week period before the big states get in the act. Almost all of the second tier candidates, in my opinion, would make far better presidents than Obama, Edwards or Clinton. If I were to vote in a Democratic primary today (and I am not a registered Democrat), I would vote for Richardson.

Posted by: JimD in FL | April 4, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's lead in the Sunshine State will erode, especiall if either Obama or Edwards score early in Iowa or New Hampshire.

I'm curious if Guiliani can successfully run to McCain's right on taxes and immigration in California. California is not the Bible Belt, so Romney may do well there also.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 4, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

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