More than half of all Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's performance is worse, or at least no better, than that of his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, who was one of Israel's least popular leaders, a new Haaretz poll has found.
The poll, which Haaretz commissioned from Dialog, found that 28 percent of the 492 respondents said Netanyahu's performance was worse than that of Olmert, who at some stages of his career had only a single-digit approval rating. Another 27 percent of respondents said Netanyahu's performance was the same as Olmert's.
However, 31 percent said Netanyahu was a better premier, while 14 percent said they were undecided.
Asked about the peace process, 57 percent of respondents, or 280 people, said that Netanyahu should tell U.S. President Barack Obama that he supports a two-state solution when he visits Washington next week. Only 35 percent said Netanyahu should not give his consent, while 8 percent were undecided.
About 40 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Likud voter said Netanyahu should agree to a two-state solution.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman received a 31 percent approval rating, compared to 45 percent who said they were not pleased with his performance. Defense Minister Ehud Barak fared better, clinching a 60 percent approval rating, with only 27 percent of respondents unhappy.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz received the lowest approval rating, with only 18 percent saying they were pleased with his performance. Almost half - 48 percent - said they not pleased with his performance, while 34 percent said they did not know.
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar received much better results, earning a 45 percent approval rating.
When asked about the state budget that was approved this week, only 28 percent of respondents approved of Netanyahu's conduct of the budget negotiations, while 52 percent said they were "dissatisfied" with his performance. About a fifth of those polled said they did not have an opinion on the matter.
Half of all respondents said the budget was "not good" for the economy, compared to 18 percent who said it was good. Another 32 percent, or 157 people, said they were undecided.
The central role that Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini played in formulating the budget irked a quarter of all respondents, who said this was a "negative" development. But 44 percent said Eini had a "positive" influence. The remaining 31 percent were undecided.
A plurality - 44 percent - said the budget should have earmarked more funds for social issues at the expense of defense spending. But 37 percent said the opposite was true, while 19 said they were undecided on this issue.
The survey, which has a 4.5 percent margin of error, was overseen by Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University.
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