Polls paint Netanyahu the winner of early elections

Yacimovich says she wants the election to focus on new issues; ruling coalition would grow, according to surveys.

PM Netanyahu and Finance Minister Steinitz 370 (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
PM Netanyahu and Finance Minister Steinitz 370
(photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be the biggest beneficiary of his own decision to call early elections, according to two public opinion polls published Thursday.
One such poll commissioned and published by Maariv, saw Netanyahu's Likud increasing its seats in the Knesset to 29, up from 27.
Projections for the number of seats the Labor party under Shelly Yacimovich fell from earlier polls, giving her 17 mandates. Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party was projected to also take 17 seats.
Responding to the new surveys, Yacimovich Thursday dismissed the significance of the Right-Left political divide, saying those days are over, speaking with Army Radio.
The Labor party chairwoman's goals in the upcoming elections are to focus on new and different issues, and not on "the same moldy, old issues that don't help anyone."
In response, Likud described the Labor leader as "all talk," claiming her lack of experience coupled with her economic policies would "bring unemployment to a million Israelis."
But it was not just Netanyahu's Likud party that benefits by early elections, but also the right-wing coalition he heads, according to a Haaretz poll also published Thursday. The Likud-led coalition comprised mostly of religious and nationalist parties increases to a commanding majority of 68 seats, up from 66.
Both polls designated Defense Minister Ehud Barak as the biggest loser of the decision to hold early elections. The surveys predicted that his Independence party may not even pass the threshold to enter the Knesset.
Reuters contributed to this report.