The Likud-Yisrael Beytenu Knesset slate fielded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is consolidating its lead ahead of the January 22 Knesset elections, as the Labor Party and other lists in the center-left bloc lose steam after failing to form a unified front, a poll published Monday by Haaretz found.
The report says that 81 percent of Israelis believe that Netanyahu will form the next government (as opposed to 6% who named Hatnua head Tzipi Livni and 4% who chose Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich), and that 64% consider him the best candidate for the job. In contrast, only 17% and 24% view Yachimovich and Livni, respectively, as premier material.
The poll, conducted by the Dialog Institute under the supervision of Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs, asked respondents about their party of choice, and compared the results to a Channel 10 News study conducted a week ago. According to the findings, Likud-Yisrael Beytenu has increased its prospects from 37 to 39 seats, while Labor will get only 17 of its members into the next Knesset — as opposed to 20 projected last week.
Haaretz predicted that Shas will capture 12 seats, making it the third-largest Knesset faction — up from 10 seats. The joint Jewish Home-National Union slate, headed by the charismatic former settler leader Naftali Bennett, is steady at 11 seats.
After that, in order of size, come Livni’s Hatnua, with nine seats; Yesh Atid, headed by newcomer Yair Lapid, with six (down from seven last week); United Torah Judaism with six; the United Arab List and Ta’al with five; Hadash with four (up from three); Meretz with three (down from four); Am Shalem with three; Balad with three; and Kadima, currently the Knesset’s largest faction with 28 seats, bringing up the rear with only two representatives.
The poll also gauged public response to the Israeli government’s recent decision to approve construction in the controversial E1 corridor between Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. In answer to a question regarding the motivation behind the decision, 54% said the move to to build in E1 was guided by “political considerations,” as opposed to 33% who said it was the result of “nationalistic considerations.”
The report did not specify how many people were polled, how they were contacted and the margin of error.