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'Post' poll: Livni continues free fall, hits 7 seat mark
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND GIL HOFFMAN
01/17/2013
Livni calls for Centrist national unity government as her party slides in poll; Bayit Yehudi falls, losing 3 seats since early January; Likud-Beytenu remains steady at 34; Meretz doubles current Knesset allocation, jumps to 6.
 
The Tzipi Livni Party continued to lose national support as Israelis geared up for January 22 elections, according to a Smith Research poll conducted this week for The Jerusalem Post and the financial newspaper Globes. The party of former foreign minister Tzipi Livni reached a new low of just seven seats - three less than the 10 it was predicted to receive at the beginning of the month.

Perhaps most worrying for Livni is her lack of support from voters under 30, among whom she is attracting less than 3 percent support. She not only trails the frontrunners Likud-Beytenu and Bayit Yehudi among young people, and is far behind her competition on the Center-Left, Yesh Atid and Labor, but she is also behind small parties struggling to pass the electoral threshold such as Green Leaf and Eretz Hadasha.

In her ongoing bid to correct this deficit among young voters, Livni visited the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan on Thursday, shaking hands with customers and enjoying a musical show put on for her benefit by a young guitarist. "The state of Israel is isolated, and the situation is getting worse," she said. "[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Bayit Yehudi head Naftali] Bennett have a worldview that will deepen the isolation. I know how to enlist the world and all the rest of the parties that dub themselves Center-Left are not relevant."

Livni later called for a national unity government in order to solve Israel's outstanding "emergency" issues. "We are currently in the midst of a state of emergency," she said, "and therefore I will work to create a national unity government that will be Centrist and Zionist in its orientation."

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Another party struggling to regain voter enthusiasm is Bennett's Bayit Yehudi, which reached a high of 16 mandates at the start of January but has since fallen to just 13 in the Post poll.

Major parties Likud-Beytenu and Labor remained largely steady, with the former consolidating its 34 mandates and the latter falling one seat to 17.

The biggest winner since the last poll, undertaken on January 8-9 was Meretz, which jumped from four to six Knesset seats. The gain would mark an impressive feat for the small left-wing party, which currently holds just three Knesset seats - half of what it could win in the 19th Knesset.
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