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'Right loses 4 seats from Likud Beytenu merger'
By LAHAV HARKOV
02/11/2012
'Post' poll shows combined Likud and Yisrael Beytenu party would get 37 seats, but lose voters to Labor (at 22 seats).
 
The united Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list will get 37 seats in the 19th Knesset, five fewer than the two parties currently have, a poll conducted by Smith Research for The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

One week after the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu decided to merge their Knesset candidates lists, ahead of the January 22 election, many of their voters have moved to other parties. Four of their seats would go to Labor, which the poll says would grow from 13 seats in the present Knesset to a total of 22 in the next one.

The survey of 500 respondents, representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population, showed the migration of seats from Likud Beytenu to Labor brings the Right bloc to 64 seats, four fewer than in a Smith/Jerusalem Post poll from mid-October.

The new poll had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.



The fifth seat the joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list would lose goes to Shas, which would get 12 seats if the election were held now.

Another Smith Research survey – conducted for Israel Radio – said 45 percent of the population supports the right-wing merger, including 67% of those who voted for the Likud in the last election in February 2009 and 73% of those who supported Yisrael Beytenu back then.

According to The Jerusalem Post poll, the third-largest party in the 19th Knesset would be Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, with 13 seats. Kadima would drop from 28 MKs to three, and Meretz would grow from three to five.

United Torah Judaism would gain one seat, rising to six.

A joint national-religious list of National Union and Habayit Hayehudi would have nine MKs in the next Knesset, a gain of two.

Hadash would stay steady with four, as would Arab parties, at seven.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Independence Party would not pass the 2% election threshold.

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If former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni were to run, she would get eight seats and the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list would drop another seat to 36. In that scenario, Livni would take two seats from Labor, which would get 20. She would also take three seats from Yesh Atid, one from Kadima and one from Meretz.

Even if Livni were to run, though, she is not the preferred leader of the Center- Left bloc, according to the Israel Radio poll.

In the current constellation, with Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz and Yesh Atid’s Lapid as possible Center-Left leaders, Yacimovich is by far the preferred leader with support from 37% of the population, followed by Lapid with 19% and Mofaz with 14%.

Should Livni and former prime minister Ehud Olmert join the race, Yacimovich would still be the preferred Center-Left leader, with 27% support. Olmert is backed by 12% of the population, and Livni by 11%.

As of Thursday, Livni and Olmert had not decided on their political futures.

On Wednesday, the two met and agreed to work to “change the government,” but without saying how they would do so.

The two, as well as Communication Minister Moshe Kahlon, who is considering forming a new party, have until December 6 to make a decision. The deadline is 45 days before the election, which would be December 8, but since that day is a Shabbat and Friday, December 7, is also not a workday, it has been moved back two days.
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