Twenty Days to the Elections |

Poll: Likud-Beiteinu Losing More Ground to Habayit Hayehudi

While Netanyahu and Lieberman's joint list is down one Knesset seat from the previous poll to 34, Naftali Bennett's party is up to 14, only two seats less than Labor.

Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter
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Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter

The joint Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu slate is continuing to weaken, according to an opinion poll conducted on Monday: If the election were held on Wednesday, it would win only 34 seats, down one from the previous poll.

The poll was conducted for Haaretz by Dialog under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University's Statistics Department.

Labor's situation is similar, with respondents giving the party one less seat than the last poll, for a total of 16.

In contrast, the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party continues to soar, chalking up a projected 14 seats. At this rate, it could end up as the Knesset's second largest party after Election Day.

The biggest loser in this poll is Shas, which shed two seats. Pundits say the slide may be the result of the ethnic-centered campaign crafted by Shas co-leader Aryeh Deri, who made snide remarks about "the Russians and the whites" in Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu. Deri has since apologized for the statement, but it seems the damage has been done.

The conclusion from the data is that a negative campaign erodes support for the party that conducts it. Last month, the leaders of Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu slammed Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett for saying he would personally not be able to obey a military order to evacuate settlers. Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu lost seats, and Bennett scooped them up.

But it's less clear where Shas' lost votes have gone. They did not go back to Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu, and so perhaps they leaked into the "undecided" pool.

The poll still shows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continuing in office. The bloc consisting of Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu, the parties to its right and the ultra-Orthodox parties comes to 67 seats. This includes Otzma Leyisrael, led by MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari, who seem poised to just make it into the Knesset with two seats.

The center-left bloc will number 53 seats, including 12 lawmakers from the Arab parties, according to Monday's poll.

Speaking of the Arab parties, Likud shot itself in the foot when two of its MKs, Ofir Akunis and Danny Danon, tried to disqualify MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad ) from running for Knesset. Not only did the High Court of Justice, as expected, overturn the move, but the exercise brought Balad another Knesset seat. More Arab respondents also said they had decided to vote in general. The poll thus predicts that the three Arab parties - Balad, United Arab List-Ta'al and Hadash - will have four seats each in the next Knesset, one more than their combined total now.

The same foolish move has been made in every election in recent years. The people seeking to disqualify a candidate enjoy short-lived kudos from supporters, and Balad MKs enjoy another Knesset term.

Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid are both holding steady, at 10 and nine seats respectively, but their situation is fragile. According to the poll, some 40 percent of Livni's supporters are vacillating between her and Lapid or other parties. And 50 percent of Lapid's potential voters are trying to decide between him and other parties.

The poll also shows Kadima hovering near the number of votes it would need to enter the Knesset with two seats. But Kadima's situation is also quite precarious. A quarter of the voters it needs to get those seats are considering voting for Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu, and another quarter say they are undecided.

A general view of Israel's parliement, the Knesset, July 15, 2007.Credit: AP
Latest Haaretz-Dialog poll results.Credit: Haaretz

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