Veteran Israeli pollster Dr. Mina Tzemach on Thursday blamed her off-mark Channel 12 TV exit poll on Likud voters, claiming they lied to skew the results in order to harm the TV network.
“The idea is to screw over Channel 12, since it represents things that some people don’t like, so they go and mess them up,” she said on Channel 12.
“People lied to us in the sample,” she said. “I’m pained by what is happening in Israeli society, certainly not among everyone, among some.”
“We are looking for a method in which people won’t be able to lie,” Tzemach added.
Tzemach, from the leading Midgam Institute, conducted numerous surveys for Channel 12 during the 2019 election campaign.
After the polls closed Tuesday evening, Midgam’s Channel 12’s exit poll gave Blue and White 37 seats, compared to 33 for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
The TV channel’s poll diverged from the two other major exit polls, from Channel 13 and Kan public broadcaster, which had both shown the two major parties neck-and-neck and Netanyahu with a clear path to a majority coalition.
As of Thursday afternoon, the results, which were not yet final, had Likud and Blue and White tied at 35, with the ruling right-wing party slightly ahead in terms of votes. Netanyahu is seen easily forming a majority coalition. Blue and White conceded the election on Wednesday.
The near-final election results showed that Likud, together with other right-wing parties allied to the prime minister, would be able to build a 65-seat coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.
The near-final results show the New Right party of Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked narrowly failing to make it into the Knesset, were the final results to give it the minimum four seats, that would further boost Netanyahu’s potential coalition.
Though almost all votes were counted Tuesday and Wednesday, ballot boxes from army bases, foreign embassies, prisons and hospitals were being counted and checked on Thursday. New Right was still said to be below the 3.25% threshold even after those votes were counted.
The Central Elections Committee said official results would be announced Thursday evening. The committee said its official website was experiencing “technical issues” for most of the day.
New Right party leaders Bennett and Shaked called for a recount of the soldiers’ votes, citing the “very strange” errors on the website, which showed throughout Thursday that the party had won 3.26% of the vote.