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Recent polls for internal use by the New Movement-Meretz show that approximately eight Knesset seats worth of voters who define themselves as leftist are considering voting for Kadima, or more precisely, for Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni.

The polls also show that most of the undecided are women - their choice could represent five Knesset seats.

These women want Livni because they see her as a figure who is "fresh, clean and a woman," says Dr. Dan Miodownik of the Hebrew University's Department of Political Science.

Miodownik is coordinator of the strategic team of the New Movement-Meretz, and conducts the polls for the party.

The finding is contrary to what had previously been believed - that the party's potential voters would find themselves deciding between it and Labor.

"We found in the polls that following the war, [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak was really admired in terms of security, but he was still perceived very badly in other areas.

"In contrast, we found that Livni was very attractive to voters from the center-left and the left. We hear from a very large sector of the population that they identify very strongly with the social welfare messages of Meretz but they want Livni as a leader," Miodownik said.

Although the women were not asked specifically, Miodownik says that the potential left-wing female voters want to support Livni because she is a woman.

In polls of the general public rather than only those identified with the left, no fewer than 70 percent of women have not yet decided who they are going to vote for.

Another reason people say they would vote for Livni rather than Meretz is that they want to give their vote to a large party that will form a coalition.

"More than ever, people want to vote for a relevant party, and so Meretz is in fact being 'punished' because many people do not consider it in the game," the pollster said.

The New Movement-Meretz said in response: "People are not undecided between Meretz and Kadima. They are undecided between Meretz and Tzipi Livni. Livni seems nice and moderate, but it must not be forgotten that behind her stand Mofaz, Hanegbi, Boim, Aflalo and Ruhama Avraham.

"We call on everyone for whom the environment, education, health and economy are important not to compromise, and vote Meretz. Only the voice of Meretz will strengthen Livni without excess baggage."