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Netanyahu looks solid, Kadima anything but, in Maariv poll

Survey also shows Labor and Yair Lapid on the rise, and that most Israelis trust Ashkenazi over Barak in ‘Harpaz affair’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems fairly well placed to win the next elections, Kadima is in bad shape, Labor is on the rise, Yair Lapid could shake up the electoral arithmetic… and most Israelis trust former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi over Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an ongoing mini-scandal. All this according to a poll released Friday by the Hebrew daily, Maariv.

Surveying voters ahead of imminent internal elections for the leadership of the opposition Kadima party, the poll found that Kadima under current leader Tzipi Livni would win 16 seats in the next elections, and if it were led by former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, 14 seats. (Kadima won 28 seats in the last elections in 2009.)

Netanyahu is solidly ahead, with his Likud set to win 27 seats in the next general elections — formally scheduled for 2013 — precisely what it holds in the current Knesset.

Labor, under its new leader Sheli Yachimovich, is headed for 17-18 seats — a marked rise on the 13 it won in 2009.

Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-wing party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that has a strong base of Russian immigrant voters, is staged to win 14 seats — one less than its current tally.

Lapid, the son of former Shinu party leader Yosef (Tommy) Lapid and a former news presenter for Keshet News (Channel 2) who recently announced his entrance to politics, is headed for an impressive 10-11 seats, the poll indicates.

The poll gives a stable 10 seats to Arab parties, puts the ultra-Orthodox Shas at 8 (down from its current 11) left-wing Meretz at 5 (up from 3), modern-Orthodox Habayit Hayehudi at 4 (up from 3), ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism at 4 and the rightist National Union at 4. Barak’s Atzmaut party — which he split off from Labor — is flickering between 2 seats and falling beneath the 2 percent threshold for representation.

Overall, the survey finds, a Netanyahu-led right-wing/religious bloc is likely to retain control 62-58 over the center-left.

The poll, which surveyed 550 eligible voters and cites a margin of error of 2 Knesset seats, also found that most Israelis trust Ashkenazi (48 percent) over Barak (17 percent) in the controversy known as the Harpaz affair, a case being investigated by the state in which there are suspicions that prominent figures may have tried to improperly influence the choice of Ashkenazi’s successor as chief of staff at the end of 2011.

 

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