Polls released Friday by Channel 1 and Channel 2, the last polls to be conducted before election day, indicated that the right-wing bloc, though growing slightly smaller in recent weeks, is heading for victory in Tuesday’s elections, while some center-left parties and left-wing party Meretz strengthened slightly.
All Friday’s final surveys — in the morning newspapers, and evening TV broadcasts — indicated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading for reelection on January 22, with his Likud-Beytenu leading a potential right-wing/Orthodox bloc that will win well over half the seats in the 120-member Knesset. The Channel 2 poll gave the right-wing/Orthodox bloc 67 seats, with the center-left and Arab parties winning 53. The Channel 1 bloc showed the right/Orthodox at 66 and the center-left/Arabs at 54. Newspaper polls earlier Friday gave the right wing-Orthodox bloc just 63 seats, the narrowest lead it has held throughout the entire campaign season.
Friday is the last date permitted by election law for publishing pre-election surveys before Israel votes on Tuesday. Channel 2 said 15% of voters were still undecided.
The Channel 2 poll, said to be an amalgam of all the latest surveys, indicated that the Likud-Beytenu list would win 34 seats — two seats more than the number predicted by Yedioth Ahronoth, Haaretz, and Channel 1. That total represents a stark fall from the 42 seats held by the Likud (27) and Yisrael Beytenu (15) in the outgoing Knesset. The smaller his own party, the more complications Netanyahu will face in forming a stable coalition.
According to Channel 2, the Labor party led by Shelly Yachimovich is expected to win 17 seats — the same number indicated by the Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz polls, and one seat more than the number predicted by Channel 1. Labor won 13 seats in 2009, but fell to 8 when Defense Minister Ehud Barak split away to form his short-lived Atzmaut faction, which is not running in these elections.
While the Yedioth Ahronoth poll gave Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party 12 seats and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 13 seats, the Channel 2 survey gave the two parties 14 and 11 seats respectively. Channel 1, meanwhile, gave Jewish Home 14 and Yesh Atid 12. The right-wing and religious Jewish Home has siphoned off votes from the Likud as the campaign has progressed, with notably high support among young Israelis, while ex-TV anchor Lapid’s Yesh Atid has risen from nowhere with its focus on centrist policies designed to appeal to the middle classes
The Channel 2 poll, like the one published in Yedioth Ahronoth Friday morning, projected 11 seats for Shas, while both Haaretz and Channel 1 projected 12 seats for the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party.
Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party is expected to win just 7 seats, according to Channel 2; Channel 1 projected 9 seats for Livni, while both Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth gave her 8 potential seats.
Channels 1 and 2 gave United Torah Judaism 6 seats.
Kadima — currently the largest faction in the Knesset, with 28 seats — manages to scrape over the electoral threshold with two seats, according to Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth, and Channel 2, but got 0 in the Channel 1 poll.
The far-right Otzma Leyisrael was notably shut out of the Knesset in the Haaretz poll, while it was projected to get 2 seats by Yedioth, Channel 1 and Channel 2.
Channel 2 gave the combined Arab lists, including the Balad, Ra’am Ta’al and Hadash parties, 10 seats, while Haaretz projected 12 seats and Yedioth 11.
A surprise was the left-wing Meretz party, which took 6 seats in the Channel 1 and 2 polls, up from 5 last week. Meretz, a left-wing opposition party, holds 3 seats in the outgoing Knesset.