Everyone missed out on the big surprise of the election – Kadima passing the Likud and becoming the biggest party again. The reason is simple: a new law prevents publishing polls in the last 4 days before an election. In the days leading to the elections, there was a significant move of voters from left-wing parties to Kadima, probably in order to stop Netanyahu. Meretz and Labor lost 3-4 MKs to Kadima in the 72 hours prior to the elections.
We have four new polls this weekend: two by the daily papers “Yedioth Ahronoth” and “Maariv”, one by the financial paper “Globes”, and one by the free tabloid “Israel Hayom”. All polls indicate a significant strengthening of the right wing parties. Kadima, which was in a neck to neck battle with the Likud just one months ago, has lost almost a quarter of its support.
Benjamin Netenyahu’s Right-Orthodox block (*) has now almost 66 MKs in our polls average. This will put Netenyahu in a very strong position when the negotiation to form a new coalition begins, and he will be able to choose whether to invite Labor, Kadima or both to his next government. With Ehud Barak’s high approval rating as Defense Minister following the Gaza operation, it is more likely Netanyahu will prefer having Labor in his government, and hope that the fragile Kadima party won’t survive a term in the opposition.
Netanyahu will also be able to form a Right-Wing coalition without both Labor and Kadima, but as I wrote before, it is an unlikely scenario.
Two more things to notice: First, Avigdor Liberman’s “Israel Beitenu” party is getting stronger, and can easily become the 3ed largest party. Second: the Greens and the senior citizens party, “Gil”, didn’t survive the war.
* In the Israeli Parliamentary system, the MK (Member of Knesset) who has the support of the most MKs gets the opportunity to form the new government. That means that the leader of the bigger parliamentary Block will be the next PM. Tzipi Livni will probably have the support of the Arab Parties, the Zionist Left and the Center. Netanyahu will get the Likud, the Orthodox parties and the Extreme-Right. That means the two blocks will look like this:
There are two new polls this weekend, and three altogether since the fighting in Gaza began.
The channel 10 poll was taken just as the operation began, and published early this week (I posted it here as well). Haaretz and Maariv polls were conducted later on and published on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Therefore, it’s interesting to note that all three polls show similar results – Labor getting considerably stronger, to 16 MKs, while the Likud and Right wing parties are loosing some ground.
Kadima also benefits from the war so far. But what’s more important for its leader, Tzipi Livni, is that all polls show the Left-Center Block (Kadima + Labor + Meretz + Arab Parties) at a draw or even leading over the Right-Orthodox Block (Likud + Israel Beitenu + Habait Hayehudi + Shas + Yahadut Hatorah). In the Israeli Parliamentary system, it is the leader of the bigger block, and not the bigger party, who will form the next coalition and become PM.
Both The Greens and the senior citizen’s party, Gil, don’t make it to the Knesset in these polls, thus proving again that when the conflict with the Palestinians takes over, it’s practically impossible to push a different agenda.
Here are the numbers and their average (in the grey column). You can see the two blocks on the bottom. Notice that for some reason, the Channel 10 poll adds up to only 118 MKs.
All pollsters began referring to the Arab parties by their name (”Hadash”, “Balad” and “Raam”), rather than including them under the general “Arab parties” category, as they were ordered to do by The chairman of the Elections Committee, Supreme Court Judge Eliezer Rivlin. I grouped them here for the last time, and starting from next week, I will show each party’s average separately.
We have a 6th poll this weekend, and it’s an interesting one. According to Maariv’s poll from Friday, Kadima has one more MK than Likud (30-29), but more importantly, for the first time since October, the Center-Left and the Right wing are at a draw (or almost a draw: 60-59. it’s not the first time we see a poll where the numbers don’t add up to the Knesset’s 120 MKs).
Our average, however, still shows a 6.2 advantage for the Right.
Here are numbers. For more details on this table, check out yesterday’s post. Click on the table to see it at full size
A month and a half to the elections and the numbers are all over the place. Channel 2 gives Kadima 29 MK’s and a lead over the Likud, while Channel 10 gives Kadima only 23 MK’s, with a 12 MK’s advantage to the Likud.
None of the polls give the Center-Left block the advantage. The smallest margin is 58-62, according to the channel 2 poll. That means Netanyahu will lead the next government, regardless of which will be the largest party.
It is, however, clear that the Likud has lost some ground last week. Both Avigdor Liberman’s “Israel Beitenu” and Meretz are getting stronger, while Labor has weakened again. The margin between the blocks has somewhat narrowed, from 8.8 MKs last week to 7.6 today. The public’s attention has shifted in the last few days to the events in Gaza, but it’s too early to see their effect in the polls.
Here are the polls and their average. You can compare it to last week’s, which is on the right column. Click on the table itself to see it at full size.
We only have one poll this weekend, from Maariv daily newspaper. The results are surprising: even with the Greens not passing the 2% threshold and staying out of the Knesset, the gap between the Right and the Center-Let Block narrows to 2 MKs (61-59).
It appears that while both Kadima and Labor got some sort of a “primaries bounce”, the Likud lost some momentum. It’s hard to tell whether it’s because of the rightist nature of the Likud’s list of candidates for the next Knesset, or just the opposite – because of the way Netanyahu dealt with the Moshe Feiglin problem.
While I was celebrating my birthday and neglecting the blog, we had no less than five new polls. All of them were conducted right after the primaries in the Likud, and before Netanyahu managed to move Moshe Feiglin, head of the “Jewish Leadership” fraction in the Likud, from the 20th place in the party’s list of candidates, to the 36th place (which will probably leave him out of the Knesset).
I decided to show all the polls in one table, and to add from now on the average of all polls conducted on the same week. I think we can learn a few new things from looking at the numbers this way.
If you click on the table itself, you will be able to see the it at full size. I don’t have the Yedioth Ahronoth poll’s full results; I will update the table when I get them. UPDATE: the Yedioth poll was added.
Most pollsters put the 3 major Arab parties (Hadash, Balad and Raam) into one category (“Arab Parties”). “Ihud Leumi” party changed its name to “Habait Haleumi”.
While grouping the numbers, I noticed a few problems: First (*), as you can see, two of these polls add up to 121 MKs – one more than the Knesset actually has. While I would prefer the pollsters to round their numbers in a way that will add them up to an exact 120, I don’t think this is a big problem for us, since there is really no way to project precisely how the seats will be allocated in the actual election (It has to do with the surplus vote agreements between the parties. You can read more about the allocation of the Knesset seats here).
The second problem (**) is the average for the Green party: it’s now at 1.25, 1.6, which is under the 2% threshold a party needs in order to get into the Knesset (which equals 2.4 MKs). But the real result for the Greens is actually higher – as you can see, in two of the polls the Greens didn’t pass the threshold, so their votes were lost, and the 120 seats (or 121…) were allocated between the parties that did pass the 2%. In these polls, the Green Party showed like it didn’t get ANY votes, but in reality, it could have gotten as many as two MKs (1.67% of the votes). The conclusion is that as long as some of the polls show a party under the threshold while others show it above the threshold, our average for this party is completely useless.
What can be said about the Green Party based on these polls, is that the question of the party entering the Knesset has a considerable effect on the margin between the left and the Right blocks. Whenever the Greens are out, the results get nearer to a landslide (in both cases the Right wins).
All polls show Labor getting a bit stronger, while Kadima losing ground. Notice that on one poll (Kol Israel) the margin between the two parties is down to only 6 MKs.
We don’t have many polls these days. It seems that the media is waiting for the primaries season to end before putting more money into new polls. Labor had its primaries last week. The Likud had theirs yesterday. Kadima will elect its candidates next week.
So we have only one poll today, from the Channel 2 web site. Their pollster, “Panels LTD” is using only web based polls, as opposed to the telephone polls most pollsters in Israel use. It’s not clear how credible this method is, and they get some strange results (last week they had Labor with 6 MKs). I will post their polls here from time to time, and we will be able to compare them with other pollsters, and of course, with the actual results of the election.
We have two new polls today, both of them show the Likud continuing to gain momentum. Kadima weakened a bit, but the big story is the total meltdown of the Labor party. The Labor, which has 19 MKs currently, will have 10 MKs in the next Knesset according to Haaretz’s poll, and as little as 8 on Yedioth Ahronoth’s poll. Less than Liberman’s “Israel Beitenu”, less than Shas.
Both polls were conducted a few days after Netanyahu has presented his new “dream team”, which includes former ministers Dan Meridor and Bennie Begin, and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe “Bugy” Yaalon. With all of them on board, the Likud looks fresh enough to capture some of the “change” spirit everybody is craving for latly. Kadima has no answer for now, but the campaign only started.
Haaretz daily paper ran a special feature [in Hebrew] this weekend on the collapse of the Israeli left wing. The two major left parties, Labor and Meretz, are expected to get between 15 and 20 MKs together (out of 120) in the general election on February 10th. It will be an all time low: this coalition (under different party names) ruled Israel since it’s independence in 1948 till 1977, and was almost always part of all governments since.
As recently as 1992, Labor and Meretz got 56 seats together, and were able to form the second Rabin government. For better or for worst, it was these political forces which built this country. So what went so wrong?