Poll shows center-left bloc suffering from Livni’s political comeback

The Movement projected to win 7 seats; Labor, Yesh Atid and Kadima experience setbacks, while the right wing loses no ground

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni announces her return to politics during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 27, 2012. (photo credit: Flash90)
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni announces her return to politics during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 27, 2012. (photo credit: Flash90)

A survey published hot on the heels of Tzipi Livni’s Tuesday announcement that she will run for Knesset at the head of a new party in the upcoming elections revealed that so far she has failed to win over any voters from the center-right, and instead may have delivered a blow to Labor and Yesh Atid.

The survey, published in Haaretz on Wednesday, predicts that Livni’s new Hatnua-The Movement party will win seven seats in the next Knesset and that those seats will come at the expense of Labor hopefuls and the political newcomers who make up Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid party list.

Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich, October, 2012. (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90)
Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, October 2012. (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90)

The poll shows that Livni’s announcement cost Labor and Yesh Atid five seats each, as compared to predictions from a Channel 10 poll published October 29 immediately after the announcement of the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu agreement to join lists.

A comparison of the two polls indicates Labor falling from 23 seats to 18 and Yesh Atid dropping from 13 seats to eight.

Other recent polls, however, including a Channel 10 survey published on Tuesday, gave Labor 20 seats and Yesh Atid five seats.

Meretz, according to the Haaretz, poll will win five seats.

The biggest loser from the pre-election maneuvering is Kadima, the party formerly led by Livni. The latest survey predicted that Kadima will tumble from the 28 seats that it held in the recently disbanded Knesset to just two seats in the next, meaning it could fail to pass the minimum threshold needed to ensure the party’s entrance to the Knesset.

Livni said on Tuesday that she was establishing The Movement to provide an alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dominance over the political arena. However, the survey question regarding who Israelis prefer to see in the prime minister’s office found that 66% of voters believe he is the right man for the job, and only 21% would put Livni in his place.

Netanyahu’s own party, Likud, together with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, which are running together in the elections, are predicted to win 39 seats in the new poll.

Shas is predicted to win 11 Knesset seats, down from the 14 predicted in the Channel 10 poll but retaining its current strength.

Far-right party Jewish Home, led by Naftali Bennet, was projected to win six seats.

Despite disappointment among much of the public over the ending of Operation Pillar of Defense and the results of the Likud primary elections on Monday that showed the party shift to the right, Netanyahu looks set to head a comfortable majority government. While 40% responded that they think Likud is now too far to the right, 38% said the party list is reasonable and 22% said they didn’t know.

In total, center-right, right and religious parties have a predicted 69 seats in the next Knesset compared to just 51 seats for the center-left together with Arab parties.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, November 2012. (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, November 2012. (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

The survey, conducted by Haaretz and the Dialogue Institute, also touched on the imminent retirement from politics of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Of 514 people who participated in the survey, 46% said they would like to see Barak come back as defense minister in the next government, 39% were against the idea, and 15% were undecided.


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