Kadima, Likud fall in pre-vote polls

One Ma'agar Mohot poll finds Israel Beiteinu passing Likud by 15 seats to 12.

March 26, 2006 23:20
2 minute read.
Avigdor Lieberman Israel Beiteinu 298.88

Avigdor Lieberman 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

Both Kadima and Likud continued their freefall while Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu maintained its upswing according to the final polls ahead of Tuesday's election that were taken on Sunday. The most surprising poll, taken by Ma'agar Mohot for Channel 2, found that Israel Beiteinu had passed the Likud, 15 seats to 12, to move into third place behind Kadima (34) and Labor (19). But a Dialogue poll broadcast on Channel 10 gave Israel Beiteinu only seven seats and the party's own pollsters said they had never reached 15 even in their internal polls.

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In the Dialogue poll, the National Union-National Religious Party would be the fourth largest party with 12 mandates. The Likud fell by three seats to 15 according to a Geocartographic Institute poll broadcast on Army Radio. A Smith Research poll sponsored by the Post found that Kadima had fallen from 34 seats to between 33 and 34 while the other parties remained steady. At a rally in Haifa, the Likud's number three candidate, Moshe Kahlon, predicted that Tuesday would be the "Yom Kippur for the pollsters" who will be forced to repent. Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, who will face a coup attempt from MK Silvan Shalom if he fares as poorly as the polls predict, warned voters against supporting Israel Beiteinu. "If you want us to be strong and offer a true alternative, you can't do it with the satellite parties," Netanyahu told activists in Acre. "If you don't come to vote, you strengthen parties on the Left." Netanyahu was verbally attacked at the Acre Likud branch by a group of senior citizens who complained about not having pensions. Netanyahu blamed Kadima for the incident. In an effort to change his luck, Netanyahu will tour Jerusalem's Old City on Monday. Kadima will send Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Monday to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda, the Likud's traditional stronghold. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert intends to continue refraining from political events, as he has since saying in a Rishon Lezion rally three weeks ago that the election had already been decided. To prove that they are taking nothing for granted, Kadima candidates Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit called a press conference at the party's Petah Tikva headquarters to outline the party's preparations for getting the voters out on Tuesday. Dichter and Sheetrit said that 30,000 paid and unpaid workers will be employed on the party's behalf. Ahead of the election, some 1.36 million stickers, 1.35 million flyers and seven million ballots will be distributed to the five million voters. "The missiles have been fired and the question is whether they hit their targets," Sheetrit said. "I am convinced that they will. Our organization is better than any election I have seen in my 25 years in the Knesset." Sheetrit and Dichter said that they were concerned about the possibility of low voter turnout and forecasts of rain on Tuesday. But Dichter said he was not worried about the impact of a potential terrorist attack ahead of the election. "Unfortunately, Israelis have enough experience with terror that an attack no longer sets the agenda as it did a decade ago," Dichter said. "We are in a different age and if God forbid there would be an attack, it would not have to shake up the election. This nation has matured in the last few years, so I don't think it would have a dramatic effect one way or another."

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