Benjamin Netanyahu .
(photo credit: OHAD TZVEIGENBERG)
The Likud is in even worse shape than polls taken for media outlets show, according to internal polls taken this week for the Zionist Union.
A series of such polls taken by former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s pollster, Kalman Geyer, found the Zionist Union leading the Likud by five to seven Knesset seats – the Zionist Union with as many as 28 and as few as 24 seats, and the Likud with as many as 21 and as few as 18.
“The war is not over, but I believe we are winning the war,” Geyer said.
Likud strategists’ polls taken on Sunday showed a tie between the two parties, but since then, the Zionist Union has taken a lead of at least a seat, 23 to 22.
“I wouldn’t use the word ‘desperate,’ but it is likely that the other side will get the first chance to form a government, and if they get that chance they probably can,” a Likud strategist said. “The only thing that can stop that from happening is a large Likud.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a crowd at the Likud’s Netanya branch on Tuesday night that there was a “real chance” that if the gap between the Zionist Union and the Likud grew, Israelis would wake up and find Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog as prime minister, followed in rotation in two years by Zionist Union leader co-leader Tzipi Livni.
“In a week we will see if the attempt to topple the Likud from power has succeeded,” Netanyahu said. “We cannot let that attempt succeed. We need to guarantee that the Likud will form the next government.”
Yesh Atid’s internal polling has found both the Likud and the Zionist Union lower than in the media’s polls. The internal poll gave Yesh Atid 16 seats.
Meanwhile, according to a poll released on Tuesday, Israelis do not believe that next Tuesday’s election could lead to a peace process with the Palestinian Authority, because they doubt the intentions of the current Palestinian leadership.
The monthly Peace Index poll, sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, asked respondents about the impact on the peace process of the party that forms the next government.
Sixty-four percent of the Jewish respondents and 35% of Arab respondents were sure or thought the Palestinian leadership would not show greater flexibility or readiness for concessions if the next government were to be formed by the Zionist Union.
Thirty percent of the Jewish respondents and 23% of Arab respondents, meanwhile, thought or were sure that the Palestinian leadership would show greater flexibility and readiness for concessions if a government headed by Herzog and Livni were to be formed.
Similarly, 64% of the Jewish respondents agreed with the statement that no matter which party formed the next government, the peace process would not advance, because there was no solution to the dispute. Thirty-two percent disagreed. Among Israeli Arabs, 31% agreed, 32% disagreed and the rest did not know or had no opinion.
As to the friendliness of US President Barack Obama’s administration, respondents expected a difference if Netanyahu were to be defeated. Some 49% of the Jewish respondents and 20% of the Arab respondents said the American administration would be friendlier toward a government headed by Herzog and Livni than toward one headed by Netanyahu.
A third of the Jewish respondents and 17% of the Arab respondents said the US would be just as unfriendly to a Herzog/Livni government as it would to a Netanyahu government. Seven percent of the Jewish respondents and 14% of the Arab respondents said the US would be less friendly toward a Herzog/ Livni government, and 3% of the Jewish respondents and 11% of the Arab respondents said the friendliness of the US would depend on the policies of a Herzog/Livni government.
When asked who was responsible for the deterioration in US-Israel relations, 34% of the Jewish respondents said both sides were equally to blame, 32% said the Obama administration was more responsible, and 27% said the Netanyahu government was more responsible.
Among the Arab respondents, 40% said that both sides were equally to blame, 21% said the Israeli government was more responsible, and 8% said the US was more to blame.
The survey of 600 respondents who constituted a representative sample of the adult population of Israel was conducted last week. The maximum measurement error for a sample of this size is ±4.1 percentage points.