Latest polls confirm high level of undecided voters, indicate fall in support for Tzipi Livni

Echoing The Times of Israel’s pre-election poll, Maariv says 25% of the electorate has yet to make up its mind ahead of January 22 vote

An Israeli woman looks at a flyer for Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party, Jerusalem, December 23, 2012 (photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
An Israeli woman looks at a flyer for Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party, Jerusalem, December 23, 2012 (photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

New election polls headlined Friday by the Hebrew-language dailies Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv echoed several trends first revealed in The Times of Israel’s major opinion poll published earlier this week.

The headline in Maariv blared that “25% of the public are still undecided” on whom to vote for in the January 22 general elections, and added that most of those who have yet to make up their minds come from the center-left bloc.

The survey, conducted among 506 respondents with a 4.5% margin of error, gave Likud-Beytenu 38 seats, Labor 16, Jewish Home 13, Shas 12, Arab parties 10, Yesh Atid 8, Hatnua 7, United Torah Judaism 6, Meretz 5, Kadima 3, Otzma Leyisrael 1 and Am Shalem 1. Allocated into blocs, it put the right-wing and Orthodox bloc at 71 seats, and the center-left and Arab parties at 49 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

The 25% undecided figure echoes the results of The Times of Israel pre-election poll conducted December 25-January 2, which found 31% of likely voters were undecided. The Maariv survey, by the Ma’agar Mohot research company, was conducted January 8-9, and suggests that, as election day draws nearer, more voters are gradually making up their minds. The assessment that a disproportionate number of undecided voters come from the center-left was also a conclusion reached by The Times of Israel poll.

Notably, too, the Maariv poll shows a diminishing Hatnua, Tzipi Livni’s new party, down from 9 seats in the Maariv poll a week ago to 7 now. The fall in support for Hatnua was also indicated in The Times of Israel poll, which put Livni’s list at just 5 seats.

The poll published by Yedioth Ahronoth — conducted by the Dahaf Institute Wednesday and Thursday among 1,000 eligible voters — also echoed trends first suggested by The Times of Israel. The poll indicates that the Likud-Beytenu list has been losing support, falling from 37 seats in a previous poll, in December, to 33 seats in this week’s poll. The Times of Israel poll gave 34 seats to Likud-Beytenu. Yedioth’s poll also has the Labor Party gaining support slightly at 18 seats, up from 17 in its December poll. And it shows Hatnua falling, from 11 seats in December to 8. The Yedioth Ahronoth poll also shows a decrease in Shas support to 10 seats, and a surge of Meretz to 6 seats, again echoing trends in The Times of Israel survey.

Overall, Yedioth gives Likud-Beytenu 33 seats, Labor 18, Jewish Home 14, Yesh Atid 11, Arab parties 11, Shas 10, Hatnua 8, Meretz 6, United Torah Judaism 5, Kadima 2 and Otzma Leyisrael 2. That means a right-wing/Orthodox bloc of 64, and a center-left/Arab parties bloc of 56.

There are still significant discrepancies between the various polls, and further fluctuations are inevitable in the final 10 days of the campaign. Many experts say polls should be used to gauge trends — rather than as specific predictions for precise numbers of seats.

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