A new poll released Tuesday by the Knesset channel gave the Zionist Union a three-seat edge over the ruling Likud party.
Meanwhile, a separate survey showed that Israelis are not optimistic that a change of leadership would affect peace prospects with the Palestinians, though nearly half maintain that it would improve ties with the US.
According to the Knesset Channel’s findings, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s joint list was projected to receive 24 seats, compared to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud at 21. Yesh Atid garnered 14 mandates, the Joint (Arab) List 13, and the Jewish Home 12. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party received 9 seats, while the Shas party got 7, and United Torah Judaism received six mandates. Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu and Meretz were tied with five seats each, and Eli Yishai’s Yachad party narrowly passed the electoral threshold with four seats.
Some 1,027 people participated in the survey. The margin of error was 3 percent.
Recent polls have placed the Zionist Union and Likud neck-to-neck, with analysts predicting the March 17 elections will be a tight race. A Likud source told the Globes business daily Sunday that Netanyahu is leaning toward forming a national unity government — a move that President Reuven Rivlin has reportedly said he will push if there is no clear winner in the race. However, a recent poll showed that Israelis are not in favor of such a move.
Peace process prospects grim
According to the monthly Peace Index poll, published by the Israel Democracy Institute in conjunction with Tel Aviv University, almost two-thirds of Israeli Jews do not think Palestinians would more readily come to an agreement with Israel if a Herzog/Livni government led the country instead of a Likud government.
Thirty-two percent of Israeli Arabs believed the party that forms the next government will have an influence on talks between Israel and the Palestinians, while 31% thought it makes no difference.
Just shy of half of Israelis (49%) believe the Obama administration will be friendlier to a government led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Thirty-three percent believe the US administration will not treat a Herzog/Livni government differently than it does now the Likud government led by Netanyahu. A minority of seven percent believe Obama will be more hostile to Herzog and Livni than he is perceived to be toward Netanyahu.
The survey was conducted in the lead-up to Netanyahu’s March 3 Congress speech and the responses from the White House.
Six hundred respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult population of Israel participated. The margin of error was 4.1%.