Israeli election ballots [File].
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to woo Israeli voters on the Right in the last few days of the election succeeded overwhelmingly, according to an extensive survey taken by the American organization Uvdot for strategist Eyal Arad’s anti-Netanyahu organization New Majority.
The survey was first published this weekend by Ben Caspit of The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister newspaper Ma’ariv, who revealed an email sent to interested parties by two American strategists, who worked for New Majority during the campaign; Democratic pollster Jim Gerstein and David Eichenbaum, a former adviser to US President Barack Obama The survey of 1,133 Israelis who voted in the March 17 election found that developments over the last few days of electioneering, moved significant votes toward the Likud. Fifteen percent of voters reported that they decided what party to support on Election Day itself, and another 13% decided in the last few days.
“To provide some perspective on the scope of this late-deciding dynamic, only 3% of Americans made their decision for US President on Election Day 2012, and another 6% made their decision in the last few days,” wrote Eichenbaum and Gerstein.
Among Jewish voters who made their decision on Election Day, 25% voted Likud, while just 11% voted for the Zionist Union. A large majority, 62% voted for a party on the Right, 16% voted for a party on the Left, and 21% for a party in the Center, according to the study, which apparently defined the Likud as right-wing and the Zionist Union as centrist.
The final election turnout was 72.3%, 4.6% higher than in the 2013 and the highest since 1999.
The study found that new Jewish voters were disproportionately right-wing. Among new voters, Arabs constituted 35%, rightwing Jews 47%, and Center-Left Jews 17%. The study found that the new Jewish voters were not more religious than veteran voters. They were younger, traditional, Sephardi, non-college educated, and male.
While it was known before that the Likud took voters away from multiple parties, the study found that 21% of 2013 Bayit Yehudi voters, 14% of 2013 Yesh Atid voters, and 8% of 2013 Shas voters chose Likud in 2015.
The study for the anti-Netanyahu organization blamed the results of the election on the electorate’s focus on security. It found that 28% of voters identified security as their most important issue, compared to 23% who chose the economy.
Two-thirds of respondents said they viewed Netanyahu as a strong leader, compared to 24% who said that of Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog.
Among voters who cited security as their top issue, 79% voted for a party on the Right, 50% said they thought Herzog was too inexperienced to run the country, and 57% said they believed that Herzog does not have what it takes to protect Israel. The survey was conducted March 17-20 in Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic.