The proposed Likud and Yisrael Beytenu party alliance would garner a mere 35 seats, 10 fewer than initial projections, according to a poll published Sunday by Channel 10.
The poll, conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, indicated that the mega-faction would lose seven seats after the coming elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party currently holds 27 seats, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party has 15.
A second poll, published by Channel 2 Sunday night, found that the Likud-Beytenu list would remain at 42 seats.
Initial speculation suggested the union of the two parties for the January 2013 elections would give the slate as many as 48 seats. Political consultant Arthur Finkelstein, who orchestrated the Liberman-Netanyahu partnership, told Channel 2 in a weekend interview that he expected the united list to earn at least 45.
The Likud central committee is set to vote on whether or not to approve the Knesset list merger with Yisrael Beytenu on Monday. Several Knesset members reportedly oppose the move and Netanyahu convened many of them Sunday night to convince them to support the alliance.
Both the Channel 10 and Channel 2 polls indicated that right-wing parties would earn a majority of the 120 Knesset seats: 66 in the Channel 2 poll; and 64 according to Channel 10.
The Labor Party was shown to rise from its current eight seats to 23 in both polls, making it the second-largest party in both surveys.
The religious Shas party was expected to gain four seats in the upcoming elections, according to Channel 10, making it the third-largest party with 14 seats. Channel 2′s poll gave it 13 seats.
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party stood to gain the most at the expense of the Likud-Beytenu party in the Channel 10 poll, where it was expected to earn 13 seats, compared to the Channel 2 poll where it only took 9.
Both channels’ polls indicated that the 18th Knesset’s largest faction, the 28-seat Kadima party, would shrink immensely. Channel 2 gave Shaul Mofaz’s party a mere three seats, and Channel 10 gave it five.