Kadima Maintains Commanding Lead as Labor, Likud Slip in Poll

Were elections held today, Labor would win 19 seats, Likud gets 13; rightist parties mark gains.

With six weeks to elections, Kadima remains in a stable position, and maintains a significant lead over its two main rivals, Likud and Labor, according to a Haaretz-Channel 10 poll conducted Tuesday night.

According to the poll, conducted by Prof. Camile Fuch's Dialog company, were elections to take place today, Kadima would win 40 Knesset seats (unchanged from last week), Labor would win 19 (two down from last week), and Likud would drop from 15 to 13.

Both Yisrael Beiteinu and the newly formed National Union-National Religious Party alliance, on the other hand, have markedly improved their positions, with the current poll awarding seven seats to the former (up from five last week) and 10 to the latter (up two from last week, prior to the union).

No significant changes were noted in the positions of the remaining parties.

Prospective voters who backed Labor in last week's poll appear to have moved to the undecided category, as no other party can claim to have attracted their support in the latest poll.

The poll, which was taken from a pool of 615 prospective voters representing the entire spectrum of the Israeli public, has a four percent margin of error.

The poll also indicates that the number of undecided voters has not changed dramatically. It currently stands at 20 Knesset seats which are up for grabs. However, 21 percent of those polled say they are likely to change their mind before election day, a drop from 28 percent last week.

Labor and Likud's weakening comes despite both parties' efforts invested in their aggressive, "negative campaigns" against frontrunner Kadima. The Likud assailed Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for the Amona evacuation and the rise of Hamas.

After Omri Sharon's sentencing, Labor chided Kadima on the issue of corruption. It also reinforced its social message, though, as of this moment, nothing appears to have helped.

At both Likud and Labor campaign headquarters, officials say their messages will sink into the public consciousness and translate into votes.

Kadima's stability, meanwhile, is reinforced by figures relating to the standing of Olmert. The grade which the public gives Olmert this week remains virtually unchanged - 5.30 as opposed to 5.34 from one week ago.

The high marks which Olmert received in January - hovering in the 6.5 range - are a thing of the past. They appear to have been the result of the public adulation and empathy for the ailing Ariel Sharon.