After Hezbollah strike, polls put Likud in the lead
Netanyahu’s party beats out the Zionist Camp by one seat in three separate surveys for the first time in weeks
Three election polls published on Thursday night and Friday placed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party one seat ahead of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s Zionist Camp for the first time in weeks.
The results followed a deadly strike by Hezbollah on the northern border with Lebanon Wednesday, which killed two IDF soldiers, and came shortly after the Knesset parties finalized their slates for the March 2015 elections.
According to a Maariv poll, the Likud party was projected to receive 25 seats, and the Zionist Camp 24. Some 52 percent of respondents said they trust Netanyahu on security matters, 59% expressed confidence in Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and 85% said they trusted the Israel Defense Forces. Ya’alon was also seen to be the favored candidate for defense minister at 25%, followed by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett at 17%, and Zionist Camp’s retired general Amos Yadlin at 14%.
Some 44% said they want Netanyahu as prime minister. In a separate question on the premiership — which excluded Netanyahu from the list — 28% said they would want Herzog to lead, followed by 12% for Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni, 9% for Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, 4% for Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and 3% for both Economy Minister Bennett and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon.
A poll published by the Walla news website on Friday also had Likud beating out the Zionist Camp by a single seat, at 27 to 26 — the same figures released in a poll a day earlier by Channel 1.
The Walla poll of 500 respondents, with a margin of error of 1.6%, also saw a dramatic dip in the number of seats projected for the Jewish Home party, from 16 to 12, while the Channel 1 survey gave the right-wing party 14. The shift came after the party faced a fierce backlash for including soccer star Eli Ohana on the party list; the sportsman later withdrew from the race.
The Channel 1 and Maariv polls predicted that Eli Yishai’s Yachad party would not pass the electoral threshold, while the Walla poll gave it four seats.