Support for the Likud is falling, with a projected 15 percent of its former electoral supporter planning to vote for other right-wing parties, a poll commissioned by Haaretz and performed by the survey company Dialogue found Wednesday.
The poll found the Likud would receive 30 seats in the Knesset compared to 36 in a previous survey by the same pollster.
Apparently, all the votes that make up the six-seat difference went to Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and Habayit Hayehudi - all of which could boast a significant increase in constituents.
On the whole, the rightist bloc is still leading over the centrist Kadima and the leftist Labor by some 12 seats. The Pensioners Party managed to garner more support compared to the December 10 poll, bringing it to a total of two seats.
A possible explanation as to why Likud hemorrhaged votes can be found in the controversy surrounding hardliner Likudnik Moshe Feiglin's election to the relatively high 20th spot during the party's primary election last week.
Invoking various technical and legal amendments in the party's charter, Netanyahu managed to bump Feiglin down by more than 15 seats in what commentators described as a bid to prevent Likud from losing votes due to an overly-hawkish public image.
Now it appears that Feiglin's ousting from a Knesset seat has backfired, causing rightist voters to abandon Likud for sectarian and hardliner parties.
But according to the Dialogue survey, which was conducted over the phone and included 475 participants, Likud's decline adds nothing to Kadima's base of support. In fact, Tzipi Livni's party has continued its steady but slow decline of one seat every fortnight. It now holds 26 seats, compared to 27 two weeks ago and 28 last month.
Just as Kadima cannot claim to profit from Likud's misfortune, so Labor cannot boast any achievement at Kadima's expense. If Ehud Barak's party - which is currently Israel's fifth largest - is responsible for Kadima's one-seat loss, then it has probably lost that seat to Meretz, which rose by two seats over the past two weeks and may now command the support of enough voters to give it eight Knesset seats.
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