The Labor Party’s representation in the next Knesset would increase if a general election were held now, following the November 21 election of Isaac Herzog as head of the party, according to two surveys published over the weekend.
Labor won 15 seats in the January election under its former head Shelly Yacimovich. Polls taken in the month prior to the Labor race predicted 15 to 17 seats for the party that dominated Israeli politics for three decades.
A Smith Research poll published in the Globes newspaper and a Panels poll taken for the Knesset Channel both predicted 19 seats for Labor. Both showed Labor gained at Yesh Atid’s expense. The Smith poll indicated Labor had taken seats from Meretz and the Panels poll from Kadima and Hatnua.
In a sign that was more room for Labor to grow in support if Herzog plays his cards right, the left-wing Meretz party did very well in both polls. Meretz, which has seven MKs now, would win nine according to the Smith poll and 13 according to Panels.
Likud Beytenu also rose in both polls, receiving a boost from the November 6 acquittal of the joint list’s No. 2 man, Avigdor Liberman. The polls were taken after Liberman told the Yisrael Beytenu central committee that he wanted to maintain the partnership, at least temporarily.
While polls before the verdict predicted 30 to 34 seats for Likud Beytenu, Panels predicted 35 this weekend and Smith 37.
A Smith Research poll published in The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister publication Sof Hashavua immediately after the verdict on November 8 found that if Likud and Yisrael Beytenu ran separately, it would be better for Likud.
That poll found that Likud would win 36 seats running alone and Yisrael Beytenu five.
Running together, the joint list would win 32 mandates.