The Jerusalem mayoral race is much closer than previously thought, and could be
swung either way by the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) vote, according to a Smith
Research poll published on Thursday.
Incumbent Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat
would only narrowly defeat his Likud Beytenu challenger Moshe Lion in the
October 22 municipal election, the survey taken Tuesday and Wednesday for The
and Globes found.
The poll of 800 respondents representing
a sample of the adult population in Jerusalem found that 47 percent support
Barkat, 41% back Lion, 3% say they would vote for haredi candidate Haim Epstein
and 9% are undecided. The poll had a margin of error of a 3.5 percentage
The numbers were very different than those of a Ma’agar Mohot
poll published in Ma’ariv last week which found that 42 percent supported
Barkat, 14% backed Lion, and 43% were still undecided. That poll had a margin of
error of 4.5 percentage points.
Since last week, different haredi rabbis
have instructed their followers whom to vote for, eliminating a large portion of
the undecided vote.
Pollster Rafi Smith said his poll indicated that the
victor of the race is likely to be decided by the turnout in each of the city’s
Political sources told the Post that the coveted haredi vote is
splintered or undecided, and that that sector might be decisive in swinging the
vote toward one of the candidates.
Barkat needs as many secular voters to
come to the polls as possible, while Lion is counting on votes from the Sephardi
underclass and Lithuanian haredim.
When Smith asked what list of
candidates respondents would back for city council, 20 percent of respondents
were undecided. Of the 31 seats on the city council, the poll found that between
nine and 10 would go to United Torah Judaism, while Barkat’s Jerusalem Will
Succeed party would win five to six. Additionally, four would go to Shas, two to
three each for Meretz, Hitorerut, and Likud Beytenu, two to Yerushalmim and
Bayit Yehudi and one or two to Bnei Torah and the United Jerusalem List of
former deputy mayor Shmuel Shkedi and right-wing activist Arieh King.
Eisenbud contributed to this report.
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