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:
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.
We have one poll this weekend, done by the free daily paper “Israel Hayom”.
86 days before the election, we are beginning to see the Likud, with all it’s new celebrities, gaining some momentum. The right-orthodox block now has 61 MKs, just enough to give Netanyahu the edge in the coalition building game after the election. Labor continues to lose ground, while Meretz is getting a bit stronger.
Here are the numbers (The margin of error is 4 percent):
Likud 33 MKs (+21 from the present Knesset)
Kadima 28 (-1)
Labor 11 (-8)
Shas 10 (-2)
Arab Parties (*) 10 (-)
Israel Beitenu 7 (-4)
Meretz 7 (+2)
Ihud Leumi 6 (-3)
Yahadut Hatorah 5 (-1)
The Green Party 3 (+3)
Gil (senior citizens) 0 (-7)
Right-Orthodox block (Likud + Shas + Israel Beitenu + Ihud Leumi + Yahadut Hatorah): 61 MKs
Center-Left block: (Kadima + Labor + Arab Parties + Meretz + Green Party): 59 MKs
* Most pollsters put the 3 major Arab parties (Hadash, Balad and Raam) into one category