Haaretz Poll: Livnat, Naveh, Sa'ar Favorite Choices for Likud List

Central Committee members polled say Yehiel Hazan first choice to be voted off list of Knesset candidates.

Members of the Likud Central Committee who select the list of party candidates for the March Knesset elections want the top posts (after Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, whose no. 2 spot is guaranteed) to go to MKs Gideon Sa'ar, Danny Naveh, Limor Livnat, Uzi Landau and Gilad Erdan, in that order.

The findings are from Tuesday's Haaretz-Channel 10 Dialog poll, conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs among 406 committee members.

Filling out the Likud "dream team" picked by respondents are MKs Yisrael Katz, Michael Eitan, Reuven Rivlin, Yuval Steinitz and Michael Ratzon.

According to the Dialog poll and other recent surveys, party whip Sa'ar has become the Likud's most popular politician of the past three years, with a 61.5 percent approval rating from the respondents who named their favorite five, compared to a 40.5 percent rating for Naveh and 35 percent for Livnat.

Sa'ar's name also appears at the top of the list of "best MKs" chosen by committee members, followed by Eitan, Erdan, Rivlin and "rebel" leader Landau.

If the survey respondents have their way, about half of the rebels who opposed the Gaza disengagement will be unemployed come April. When committee members were asked which Likud MKs they would most like to vote off the party list, their first choice is Yehiel Hazan, who was indicted for double-voting in May 2003 and is likely to be charged with obstruction of justice after he was filmed removing evidence in that case from the Knesset storeroom.

Following Hazan are the Inbal Gavrieli, Michael Gorlovsky (also involved in the double-voting case), Gila Gamliel and Ayoub Kara.

The Dialog poll asked about the declared intention of new party chair Netanyahu to transfer the task of selecting the party's candidates from the 3,000 members of the central committee to the 130,000 Likud members.

Surprisingly, 30 percent of the committee members polled said they were willing to relinquish the enormous power they had been given.

It seems that the committee members recognize that the Likud's poor reputation has to a great extent been caused by the disturbing images associated with the formulation of the candidates' list.

An overwhelming 82 percent of respondents said the media's portrayal of the committee was unfair, while 14 percent said it was complimentary.

A significant minority of respondents - 38 percent - said they believed that Kadima and Likud would unite under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon following the elections, while 56 percent said this would not happen.

Contrary to other surveys, 60 percent of respondents expressed some measure of confidence in Netanyahu's ability to form the next government, with only 34 percent expressing the opposite view.

To the question of which Likud-leavers they would like to bring back home from among Tzipi Livni, Meir Sheetrit, Shaul Mofaz and Tzahi Hanegbi, respondents were predictable: Hanegbi, their favorite, heads the list, followed closely by Livni. Trailing by several lengths are Mofaz and Sheetrit.