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‘Post’ poll: Likud Beytenu gains, Bennett slides
By GIL HOFFMAN
01/11/2013
According to Smith Research poll, Netanyahu and Liberman's joint list gains support for the first time in over a month.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list has gained support for the first time in more than a month, according to a Smith Research poll conducted this week for The Jerusalem Post and the financial newspaper Globes.

The poll found that Likud Beytenu rose two seats from 32 to 34, while Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party, which had risen steadily over the past month, fell from 16 seats to 14.

The Likud credited former foreign minister Tzipi Livni for the list’s rise. Party officials said her failed efforts over the past week to unite the Center-Left persuaded voters to return to Likud Beytenu from its satellite parties.

“Right-wing voters are returning, because they are starting to understand that in this election, it is important to strengthen the Likud in the face of attempts by the Left to return to power and push Israel to divide Jerusalem and return to pre-1967 borders,” said coalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin, who heads the party’s campaign in the national- religious sector.

Elkin said it was important for Likud Beytenu to win more votes than the three largest Center-Left parties combined in order to prevent President Shimon Peres from allowing them to form the next government.

The poll found that Likud Beytenu’s 34 seats trailed the 36 from the combination on the Left: Labor would win 18 mandates, Yesh Atid 10 and The Tzipi Livni Party eight if the election were held now. Livni’s party, which was expected to win 10 mandates, fell in other polls as well, due to her unsuccessful political maneuver.

Senior Likud officials expressed satisfaction with Livni’s fall in the polls. They expressed hope that Kadima would rise at The Tzipi Livni Party’s expense and become a convenient coalition party that could balance out right-wing parties.

“It is clear as the sun that we would be much more comfortable with Kadima than with Livni,” a senior Likud official said.

Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich downplayed the Likud’s rise, noting at a party event in Beersheba that only 21 of the top 34 candidates on the joint Likud Beytenu list are Likudniks.

She predicted that Labor would rise from 18 seats and overcome Likud as the largest faction.

The poll, which was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, predicted that Shas would win 10 seats and United Torah Judaism would take six. Meretz, Ta’al-United Arab List and Hadash would each earn four seats, while Am Shalem and Balad would take three apiece, and Kadima would win two mandates. The poll surveyed 870 people representing a statistical sample of the adult population and had an error margin of just 3.3 percentage points.

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The hawkish Strong Israel party was close to passing the 2% electoral threshold, as was the anti-corruption party Eretz Chadasha and Sephardi preacher Amnon Yitzhak’s Koah Lehashpia (The Power to Influence) party. Both parties stood out in election ads, with Eretz Chadasha accusing Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein of being part of a corrupt conspiracy and Yitzhak promising that he would lower the cost of bread to NIS 1.

A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Israel Radio predicted that Koah Lehashpia would win four seats. A Geocartography poll predicted that the pro-marijuana Green Leaf party would enter the Knesset with three mandates.

Other polls also found that Likud Beytenu had risen. A Ma’agar Mohot poll broadcast on Thursday night on Channel 2 predicted 38 seats for Netanyahu’s list.

Netanyahu expressed optimism that his list would continue to rise in the polls, speaking at a Likud Beytenu event on Thursday night in Rishon Lezion.

He promised that Rishon Lezion Councilman David Bitan, who is No. 35 on the list, would enter the Knesset along with additional candidates.

“Running a country is not a children’s game,” the prime minister told the crowd. “It requires a team.”
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