If elections were held today, the Kadima party under Shaul Mofaz would capture more Knesset seats than under current chief Tzipi Livni, a survey shows.
The centrist party would garner only 10 seats under Livni and 12 under Mofaz, according to the Haaretz-Dialog poll conducted under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University. Kadima currently has 28 Knesset seats.
These results are a bad sign for Livni, less than three weeks before the Kadima leadership primary. She has been campaigning on the claim that she is "the real Kadima" and would bring the party more votes than Mofaz.
A Mofaz-led party came out ahead both with the general public and Israelis who identified themselves as Kadima voters.
The reason given for this is that voters from the more financially secure Ashkenazi community are finding political homes in Labor and Meretz, as well as with TV personality Yair Lapid, who entered politics two months ago.
But Lapid is losing ground fast. The new poll predicts that he would win only seven to eight seats, around half his showing in a Dialog poll conducted for Channel 10 on January 9.
It's telling that Lapid is in decline even though his main rival, Kadima, is hemorrhaging. Lapid has not yet formed a political party and has been campaigning mainly on Facebook.
The poll, which was conducted Sunday and Monday during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, showed Likud winning big, taking between 35 and 37 seats. Likud, the rest of the right wing and the ultra-Orthodox parties would get between 71 and 74 mandates. Under such a scenario, only Netanyahu would be able to form a government.
Netanyahu, who returned to Israel yesterday, is facing a complex political situation.
On the one hand, he and his party seem to be in top political form. On the other, 58 percent of those polled believe that if the United States does not attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Israel must not try to do so alone. Thus it seems Netanyahu has not convinced those for whom he has been repeatedly threatening Tehran.
Even so, half the respondents said they are relying on Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to handle the Iran issue.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now