The Left Recovers, the Right Shrinks

The left is coming back from its public opinion nadir just after the Second Lebanon War, according to a Haaretz-Dialog poll published today.

In the survey, the right (right wing and ultra-Orthodox parties), which immediately after the war drew enough support for 70 Knesset seats, has shrunk to 63 seats.

On the other hand, the left (Labor, Meretz and the Arab parties), has increased by seven Knesset seats to reach 43.

Along with Kadima and the Pensioners' Party, considered to be centrist parties, the difference between the two parliamentary camps is shrinking, with the right potentially commanding 63 Knesset seats and the left and center 57 seats.

It is still easier for the leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, to put together a coalition if elections were held today. But if Kadima, the Pensioners and Labor united forces on the eve of elections, the situation may be very different.

Meretz picks up votes

The Haaretz-Dialog poll, held last week under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University's Statistics Department, shows that Ehud Barak's election to Labor chairman less than a month ago is boosting the entire left, not only his party.

Even Meretz is increasing its support and could potentially have eight seats in the Knesset.

It seems that Barak, who is viewed as a center-right candidate, is drawing support from Kadima voters, while Labor voters on the left are moving to Meretz.

Other interesting data show that 36 percent of Likud supporters say they are satisfied with Barak at the Defense Ministry, compared with 31 percent who are not. Furthermore, 46 percent of Likud voters are satisfied with Tzipi Livni's work as foreign minister, and a similar amount are not.

According to the poll, the appointment of Haim Ramon as vice premier is very popular among Kadima supporters (63 percent in favor vs. 34 percent opposed), and it is backed by Labor supporters as well (50 percent vs. 46 percent).

Olmert's reshuffled cabinet is perceived to be better than the previous cabinet, with 57 percent support.