Haaretz Poll: Barak Benefited Most From Ayalon-Peretz Pact

According to survey, if the primaries were held today, Ayalon would get 47 percent of vote, Barak 43 percent.

The political "deal" between Ami Ayalon and Amir Peretz has not given Ayalon the unequivocal advantage he had hoped for. The competition between Ayalon and Ehud Barak, who reached a "deal" of his own Wednesday with Ophir Pines-Paz, remains close, with only a slight statistical advantage to Ayalon.

These are the findings of a joint poll by Haaretz-Dialog Wednesday evening among a sample of registered Labor Party members, who will be called on this Tuesday to decide between Barak and Ayalon in the race for Labor's leadership.

The poll explains why Barak succumbed Wednesday to Pines-Paz's pressure to give the prime minister an ultimatum and target date - the submission of the final report by the Winograd Committee - for Labor's resignation from the government.

The contest between him and Ayalon may be decided by just several hundred votes: those of Pines-Paz voters. According to the poll, overseen by Professor Camil Fuchs of the Tel Aviv University statistics department, if the primaries were held today, Ayalon would get 47 percent, and Barak 43 percent.

In practice, it is neck-in-neck. On the eve of the first round, most polls gave Ayalon a clear advantage over Barak. But Barak beat Ayalon by a 5-percent majority, mainly because of the organized voting in his favor in the Arab and Druze sectors, and his effective campaign machine, which has the backing of the Histadrut union leaders.

The pollsters asked how members intended to vote before Ayalon and Peretz agreed to cooperate. Forty-four percent would have voted for Ayalon and 34 percent for Barak. In other words, Ayalon gained a mere 3 percent from his political marriage to Peretz, while Barak swept up 9 percent.