Haaretz-Dialog Poll: Kadima Picks Up Three More Seats

On the eve of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's hospitalization to undergo a cardiac catheterization, his Kadima party has recorded another rise in the polls to 42 Knesset seats, compared with 39 seats two weeks ago.

Labor, on the other hand, has weakened somewhat, dropping from 21 to 19 Knesset seats, while the Likud appears to be holding steady with 14 Knesset seats.

Of the remaining parties, only Meretz-Yahad has seen a significant change in its situation, dropping from five Knesset seats two weeks ago to three in the current poll.

The prevailing view among the political establishment is that barring any dramatic and unexpected developments, the current balance of powers is expected to remain as is, thus ensuring Sharon's re-election for an additional term as prime minister.

The Haaretz-Channel 10 survey carried out Monday by Dialog, under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs, examined voters' degree of certainty vis-a-vis their upcoming vote, as well as how many of them had changed their preference in the past month.

In response to the question "What are the chances of you changing your decision before the election?", potential Labor and Kadima voters appear to be most set on their current preference, with just 22 percent to 23 percent of these voters saying that they could change their minds ahead of March 28. On the other hand, 31 percent of potential Likud voters expressed a degree of uncertainty regarding their current choice.

All in all, some 25 percent of the total number of respondents (622) said they may change their decision prior to the election.

When asked if they had changed their minds in the past month, 11 percent of the respondents replied in the affirmative.

The Haaretz-Channel 10 survey also sought to examine the public's opinion regarding the credibility of the leaders of the three major parties, employing the following question: "From which of the three would you purchase a used car?"

Based on the responses, none of the three - Sharon, Amir Peretz or Benjamin Netanyahu - evoke much enthusiasm or faith as vendors in the used-car market. Some 20.5 percent said they would buy a used car from Sharon; 17 percent would purchase one from Peretz; and 16.5 percent would buy from Netanyahu. But 32 percent of the respondents said they wouldn't trust any of the three when it comes to a subject as sensitive as one's private vehicle.

Regarding the economy, 27.5 percent attributed the improving condition to the policies of former finance minister Netanyahu; 18 percent said Sharon's disengagement had done the trick; the same number attributed it to the fall-off in terror; and 15.5 percent said the global economic situation had led to the improvement in the Israeli economy.