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.
Don’t let Kadima’s narrow advantage in the exit polls fool you. These results are going to change as more votes come in, but even if Kadima maintains its lead, the Right wing will have a clear majority in the Knesset. That means that Tzipi Livni won’t be able to form a government, or to stop Netanyahu from forming one. The game is over.
2:40 AM: Ynet reports that after counting 83 percent of the polls, Kadima leads with 29 MKs, while the Likud has 27. Meretz suffered the biggest blow: Israel’s liberal party has only 3 MKs. The Right maintains its lead, with 64 MKs out of 120.
3:00 AM. Final results will only be published in a couple of days, but as things look now, we will have a Right-Center coalition, probably with Netanyahu as PM. He will try to have Livni and Kadima as his senior partners. Yes, all the leftists who voted for Livni in order to stop Netanyahu will discover that they actually helped him build a more stable coalition.
If for some reason Kadima will refuse to join Netanyahu’s government, he will have the option to form a coalition with the Extreme-Right and Orthodox parties.
3:05 AM. The “good” news: Liberman with 15 seats for now. He might get to 16 when the soldiers votes are added. It is still too much for the populist and racist politician he is, but far from the 20 MKs his supporters were hoping for.
3:30 AM. More than 90 percent of the votes are in. Kdima has 29 seats, Likud 27, Israel Beitenu 15, Labor 13, Shas 11, Yahadut Hatorah 4, Hadash 4, Raam 4, Ihud Leumi 4, Meretz 3, Balad 3, Habait Hayehudi 3. There will be some minor changes when the soldiers’ votes are counted, and all seat allocation rules applied.
3:35 AM. No reason to party. Going to sleep.
MORNING UPDATE: Kdima 28 seats, Likud 27, Israel Beitenu 15, Labor 13, Shas 11, Yahadut Hatorah 5, Hadash 4, Raam 4, Ihud Leumi 4, Meretz 3, Balad 3, Habait Hayehudi 3. 150,000 votes, mainly soldiers’, left to count.
Here is my projection:
Israel Beitenu 18
Yahadut Hatorah 5
Ihud Leumi 4
Bait Yehudi 3
Hadash 4 (*)
Balad, The Greens, The Green Movement, Gil – not passing the 2% threshold.
Right-Orthodox Block: 66 MKs.
Left-Center Block: 54 MKs
(*) This is where I stand.
A new law forbids publishing polls in the four days before the elections, in order not to influence voters’ decisions. The Israeli media published yesterday its final polls.
The numbers are not that different from one poll to another, and they all show a clear advantage for the Right-Orthodox block led by Benjamin Netanyhu (*). This means Netanyhau will be Israel’s next prime minister, even in the unlikely event of Tzipi Livni’s Kadima being the biggest party. Our average gives the Right a bit more than 67 MKs, meaning he can form a government even without taking in the extreme-right “Ihud Leumi” party. As I wrote before, Netanyahu will surly try to get Labor or Kadima into his government as well. Given the advantage he has now, it shouldn’t be too hard.
Here are the numbers. The later polls are on the right. The grey column on the right end of the table is our polls average. On Monday I will post my own prediction.
(Click on the table to see it in full size)
Avigdor Liberman is the big winner of the elections. His party will probably pass Labor and become Israel’s third largest. The latest polls indicate that he is still getting stronger, so given the fact that we have three more days before the elections, even a 20 plus result for “Israel Beitenu” won’t be a big surprise.
Liberman’s success is helping Kadima, who is getting slightly stronger, probably because of voters wishing to balance his power in the next Knesset. There are 1-2 percent of Left-leaning undecided voters, most of them women, hanging between Kadima and Meretz. Barak’s labor is not an option for them.
Labor’s war bump has stopped, and the latest polls show the party even weakening a bit. This goes to show that the public is still not trusting Ehud Barak with anything but national security.
Shas and Yahadut Hatorah, the two orthodox parties, are very stable in the polls, but one has to remember that Shas usually over-performs in the elections.
The Arab Balad party is in real danger of not passing the 2 percent minimum threshold. It’s also more than probable that the two environmental parties (“The Green Movement” and “The Greens”) won’t enter the Knesset. Their campaign has been hurt by the war, but still, if they ran together, they would have gotten in. If Balad does stay out of the Knesset, that means that the Center-Left Coalition has lost up to five seats because of parties not passing the minimum threshold.
we have 5 new polls in the last couple of days. We will probably have more tomorrow, and I’ll update the table as soon as possible.
The 30 MKs result for the Likud in “Israel Hayom”’s poll seems a bit too high, and so does the 20-21 for Liberman in the Globes poll. All the rest of the results make sense. Liberman’s “Israel Beitenu” party is still gaining ground, while the Likud is stable around 27 for some time. The Right-Orthodox block keeps a 10-12 MKs advantage over the Left-Center block (*). That means Netanyahu is our next PM.
Balad party is in real danger of not getting into the Knesset, while Hadash is getting somewhat stronger. On the Right, “Habait Hayehudi” should be a bit worried as well.
Five more days to go. Here are the numbers (click on the table to see it in full size).
Exactly a week to the election, one thing is clear: Netanyahu will be Israel’s next PM. All polls indicate a 10 Mks or more lead for his Right-Orthodox block over Tzipi Livni’s Left-Center block (*).
But that’s all the good news Netanyahu is going to get. It is clear that the recent strengthening of Avigdor Liberman’s “Israel Beitenu” Party came at the Likud’s expense. Our average show the Likud with 26.7 MKs (it had more than 30 a few weeks ago) and Liberman with 17.3. This doesn’t hurt the Right block, but it will make life much harder for Netanyahu after the election. So far the Likud has been very careful not to start campaigning against Liberman. It will be interesting to see whether the latest numbers will change Netanyahu’s mind. UPDATE: They did. Netanyahu started going after Liberman.
The polls are very inconsistent when it doesn’t come to the four big parties (Meretz has 4 Mks on Channel 1 poll and 8 on Globes), so we might have a few surprises there.
The outcome of the election will also be affected by the number of parties not crossing the two percent threshold. As I explained here, this problem mainly concerns the Left-Center block, which has three parties in danger: Balad, the Greens and Gil, the Senior citizens’ party. Habait Hayehudi, the right-wing religious party, is also at some risk, but I believe they will get there.
Here are the latest numbers:
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:
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.
The latest polls are predicting the Green party between two to three MKs in the next election. The threshold for entering the Knesset is 2% of all legal votes (2.4 MKs), and the Greens might not only make history (there has never been an environmental movement in the Knesset), but also make the difference between a Right Wing narrow victory and an actual landslide.
The only problem is that nobody knows who is this “Green Party” the polls refers to.
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.