Haaretz poll: Israel’s right-wing bloc drops to 63 seats, center-left rises to 57


 The leading party in the right-bloc wing, Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu, is at its weakest point since the campaign opened, according to the poll, scoring just 32 seats; some 15% of respondents undecided.

The last poll to be published before Election Day predicts 63 seats for the Likud-right-Haredi bloc and 57 for the center-left-Arab lineup. This is the lowest number of seats the right has been forecast to receive in Haaretz polls since the campaign began.

The Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu joint ticket − the leading group in the rightist bloc − is at its weakest since the campaign for the 19th Knesset opened, with 32 Knesset seats. This is 10 fewer than the parties’ combined tally in the outgoing Knesset.

Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu people should pray this trend turns next Tuesday and the lost Knesset seats come home to the beat of the tam tam drums, as has happened in the past.

This poll, held on Wednesday and Thursday among a larger than usual sample of participants, predicts − like those before it − that Benjamin Netanyahu will be the next prime minister and Shelly Yacimovich the next opposition leader.

The questions are, who will the cabinet ministers be? What parties will make up the government? And how long, difficult and complicated will it be to put the coalition together, in view of the ruling party’s weakness?

The Haaretz poll was conducted by Dialog Institute and supervised by Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University.

According to the poll, 15 percent of the interviewees − a potential 17-18 Knesset seats − are still undecided, or “don’t know” how they will vote on Tuesday. This means that until the very last moment there is still the chance for surprises, upheavals, downfalls or triumphs.

These changes are not expected to determine the next prime minister, but may certainly affect the composition of the next coalition.

The vulnerable parties most prone to last-minute mishaps are Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah and Shaul Mofaz’ Kadima. An absolute majority of their voters − 66 and 60 percent respectively − describe themselves as “undecided” about the chance of actually voting for the party.

In contrast, the lowest rate of undecided voters has been registered among United Torah Judaism (4 percent‏), Shas (20 percent‏), Habayit Hayehudi (23 percent‏) and the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu ticket ‏(26 percent‏).

Habayit Hayehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, is holding steady at about 14 Knesset seats. Shas appears slightly stronger in the latest poll.

In the center-left bloc, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party soars to 12 Knesset seats, while Livni’s Hatnuah goes down to eight. Lapid’s party has displayed an upward incline in the polls for several weeks. If he succeeds in attracting a few more percent of undecided voters, Lapid may follow the triumphant lead of his late father − Shinui chairman Tommy Lapid − and rake in 15 Knesset seats.

Meretz, headed by Zahava Gal-On, is also in the ascendancy, especially in the past two weeks. It has risen from four to six Knesset seats in all the polls, including Haaretz’s. The party had three seats in the outgoing Knesset, but Gal-On has not only doubled her party’s strength ‏(according to the polls‏) but also stopped the vote drain that plagued her in previous elections.

The poll predicts Kadima will make it into the Knesset with two seats, while the extreme rightist party Otzma Leyisrael will receive only 1.4 percent of the votes, followed by Am Shalem and Green Leaf with 1 percent.

Most of the interviewees say socioeconomic issues are the most important factor determining their vote (‏47 percent‏), followed far behind by the Palestinian issue (18 percent‏) and the ultra-Orthodox draft (12 percent‏).



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