A poll released Monday morning shows a political alliance between the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu parties making few gains in upcoming elections.
The poll comes on the heels of two other public opinion surveys released Sunday night that saw the super-faction either not gaining any ground, or even losing seats in the next Knesset.
The Monday poll, conducted by TNS Teleseker and published in Maariv, shows the Likud-Beytenu alliance receiving 43 or 42 votes, depending on whether former prime minister Ehud Olmert returns to politics.
The two parties currently hold 42 votes combined. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party holds 27 seats, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party has 15.
Should Olmert stay out of politics, the poll found, the alliance would garner 43 seats in the January vote, with Labor rising to 20 seats, newcomer Yesh Atid under former journalist Yair Lapid getting 15 seats and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, under the leadership of Aryeh Deri, getting 10 places.
Should Olmert form a new party together with his former foreign minister Tzipi Livni and current Kadima head Shaul Mofaz, according to the poll, Likud-Beytenu would get 42 seats, Labor 18 spots, Yesh Atid 14 and the Olmert-led party 10 seats in the Knesset.
The poll also showed strong support for the Likud-Beytenu alliance among likely Likud voters, 73.2 percent of whom said they would back such a move. Another 20.9% told the pollsters they opposed the forming of a joint list.
The Likud central committee will vote on whether to join up with Yisrael Beytenu later on Monday. On Sunday night, Netanyahu convened a meeting with several prominent party members opposed to the move, in a bid to convince them to support the alliance, Israel Radio reported.
The Maariv poll numbers mostly jibe with polls published by Channels 2 and 10 on Sunday, which showed the right-wing alliance either maintaining the same number of mandates or losing seats.
According to the Channel 10 poll, the alliance would drop to 35 seats. Channel 2′s poll shows the alliance winning 42 seats.
Initial speculation suggested the union of the two parties 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.
All three polls have the rightist bloc in the Knesset being made up of 64-67 seats, enough to retain control of the parliament.