kadima 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Kadima party has dropped two mandates in the polls, losing the gains it made in the aftermath of last Tuesday's successful IDF raid in Jericho, according to a Smith Research survey conducted on behalf of The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
According to the poll, Kadima fell from 36-37 to 34-35 seats, returning to the same numbers it received before the Jericho operation. Labor rose two seats, from 18-19 to 20-21, while Likud fell from 15 mandates to just 14.
The new numbers came as all the parties were engaged in last-minute efforts to gain new support and ensure their voters turn out for the March 28 election.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "ranch forum" of advisers to help him prepare for two media appearances on Wednesday in which he intends to call on the public to vote. Olmert will be interviewed by Channel 10 and speak to the media at a Kadima faction meeting at the Knesset.
While Olmert has not attended political rallies of late, because of the security expenses involved, other top Kadima leaders have been speaking nightly at political events across the country that will culminate in a large rally in Jerusalem on Thursday night.
At a Ramat Gan event held to mark the publication of Kadima candidate Shimon Peres's new book on Tuesday, Olmert surprised the audience by saying, "It's amazing to see how many times Peres was right when people thought he was wrong."
The Likud, meanwhile, will continue with its recent strategy of appealing to former Likud voters by calling on them to come out and vote, and not to let the polls and press decide the race. Likud strategists said they still believed the party could still reach the 20-seat plateau, because "Likud members were more likely to vote" than supporters of other parties.
In a new election commercial broadcast on Channel 10 on Tuesday, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu asked voters to come back to Likud, even if they were harmed by his economic policies when he was finance minister.
Gil Samsonov, a campaign manager for Likud, aroused controversy when he said on Israel Radio on Tuesday that Kadima's campaign was fascist and resembled something from Goebbels. Kadima demanded that Netanyahu fire Samsonov and that an apology be issued.
Samsonov said he apologized if he was misunderstood. He said he was referring to Kadima ads that showed Netanyahu doctored to look and act crazy.
"All I said was they were using Goebbels-style propaganda," Samsonov said. "I didn't call Kadima a nazi party or say they were putting people on a train."
Another poll conducted by the Geocartographic Institute found that 3.9 percent of respondents said they would vote for former IDF deputy chief of General Staff Uzi Dayan's Tafnit Party if they were guaranteed the party would pass the 2% minimum threshold to reach the Knesset. Some 3.5% said it was very likely that they would vote for the party.