Yedioth Ahronot poll: Netanyahu’s approval ratings higher than ever

Posted: October 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, Polls, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

Publishing public opinion polls when there are no elections in sight is not a common practice in the Israeli media, but Yedioth Ahronot has one this weekend. Basically, it confirms what I’ve been writing here for some time: Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to contain all outside pressure with regards to the peace process and the settlement freeze. The PM and his government enjoy very high approval ratings, and although Defense Minister Ehud Barak has suffered some blows recently, Netanyahu’s coalition remains very stable.

If elections were held today, Netanyahu’s Likud party would have got 33 Knesset seats (it has 27 today), while Tzipi Livn’s Kadima would have stayed with 28 seats. Libernma and Israel Beitenu drops to 12 seats; Barak and Labor crashes from 13 to 7.

The government has a so-so approval on economical issues (51 percent), but when it comes to national security (60 percent) and foreign policy (66 percent!), the public seems to be backing Netanyahu and Liberman’s new aggressive tone towards the world.

These numbers are consisted with a poll conducted by the left-wing Geneva Initiative organization, teaching us again that the Israeli public is perfectly happy with the way things are now. There is a false feeling of stability within the public which helps the government, just as the fact that Netanyahu hasn’t made any major decision yet.

Netanyahu – unlike Olmert and Sharon, who came before him – is very sensitive to public opinion. At the moment, there is absolutely no reason for him to respond to the American peace effort – which seems to be going nowhere anyway – and thus create cracks in his coalition and hurt his numbers. It’s not even a question of ideology, but a simple rational choice. Therefore, without effective international pressure – not anything like what’s happening now – we won’t see any change in the near future, and the risk of another violent round between Israel and the Palestinian will continue to rise.

6 Comments on “Yedioth Ahronot poll: Netanyahu’s approval ratings higher than ever”

  1. 1 Aviv said at 8:59 am on October 24th, 2009:

    “Aggressive” tone? Try “assertive”.

    And I don’t see how the last 15 words follow from all the previous ones. I see no intifada on the horizon.

    On the contrary, the previous one was carefully planned and orchestrated in the height of pie-in-the-sky peace processing.

  2. 2 noam said at 1:39 pm on October 24th, 2009:

    Aviv – on the short term, you are absolutely right. It is very difficult to see the Palestinians moving in any direction – peace or war – as long as they are divided into two political and geographical units. But this situation won’t last forever, and there is a certain dynamic to the conflict: a missed diplomatic opportunity (the Jordanian deal of the 80′s; Oslo in the 90′s) > violent clash > Israel ready for moves it didn’t agree to before (recognizing the PLO after the first Intifada; withdrawing from Gaza and evacuating settlements after the second).

    What I mean is that Netanyahu enjoys real credibility with the public. He is in a position to do big things, but all he is concerned about is surviving the next day, week or month. And you don’t have to be a prophet to understand that the current stability won’t last forever.

  3. 3 Aviv said at 9:50 am on October 27th, 2009:

    I don’t see how you addressed my argument. Peace processing doesn’t prevent violence and in and of itself has no contribution to stability or security, to either side. Similarly, negotiations’ failure did not cause the violence. It was planned all along and meant to serve underlying interests on the Arab side. As did said negotiations.

    The true conundrum is if Israel’s existence is accepted by its neighbors or not. If it is – Israel wins. Otherwise – its enemies win. (Borders, settlements, Jerusalem, water, refugees – All trees mistaken for the forest). As long as said enemies think they can win, they will use whatever means they have at their disposal, including blowing up buses.

  4. 4 noam said at 12:46 pm on October 27th, 2009:

    Aviv – again, you seem to know what’s on the Palestinians’ minds, so I don’t see what is it that I can say that will contribute to the debate. when your assumption is that the P don’t accept us, everything they will do can be interpreted as part of their master plan to destroy us: if they attack us – it’s proof of their intentions; if they negotiate, it’s the phased plan.

    Maybe the solution is to ignore this issue – of the two sides intentions – alltogether and try examine the problem from different angles. let’s say, conflict management. in this sense, we should ask ourselves if Israel is doing anything it can to contain the conflict and stabilize the situation? I am not that sure.

  5. 5 Aviv said at 11:59 am on October 28th, 2009:

    On the contrary, Noam, you assume the P leadership is fundamentally seeking a positive-sum, win-win solution. It’s sort of like axiomatically declaring that since you like strawberry-flavored ice cream, so does everyone else.

    You bend all evidence to the contrary to fit that worldview. If they attack us – They must harbor a grave, legitimate grudge against us, it’s our fault and we had it coming. If they eat chocolate – It’s because they were deprived of strawberry.

    The P’s leadership’s internal rhetoric, as well as their negotiation tactics, point strongly to the contrary. Indeed, the proof is in the (chocolate) pudding.

    Re: Conflict management – Indeed this is the prevailing sentiment in the Biberman gov’t. What do you suggest?

  6. 6 noam said at 11:52 am on October 29th, 2009:

    Aviv – where did you see me assuming that the P want peace? I think we need to leave the WB for moral reasons, not because it will bring peace. i don’t think i”ve ever written a post declaring that the P want peace (but you are welcomed to correct me on this).

    as for conflict management: the objective of this idea is to increase stability in the long run and to gradually dismantle the points of conflict. I don’t see how the Israeli insistence to build settlements fits in here, nor the effort to topple Abu-Mazen and this help Hamas, which is what this government is doing.