bibi netanyahu 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Less than three weeks before the general election, Likud leads Kadima by four mandates, according to the results of two polls published Friday morning.
A Dahaf poll, conducted for Yediot Aharonot, gave Likud 29 seats, Kadima 25, Labor 17 and Yisrael Beiteinu 14. A second poll, conducted by Teleseker for Ma'ariv, predicted 28 mandates for Likud, 24 for Kadima and 16 for both Labor and Yisrael Beiteinu.
Meanwhile, Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, of Labor, repeated a claim previously made by Kadima that Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister would find it difficult to work with new US President Barack Obama.
"Whoever thinks that it will be easy for Israel with Netanyahu as prime minister is wrong. It will be hard because it seems that Netanyahu's policies will be in direct contrast with those of Obama," Herzog told Army Radio. "That's how I see it."
Likud dismissed Herzog's comments, stating that Netanyahu knew the leaders of the US administration well and spoke with them on a regular basis. The party went on to say that Netanyahu had cooperated well with Washington in the past and would do so in the future, the radio station reported.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni convened her party's top 40 candidates for a pep talk at the party's Petah Tikva headquarters, during which Kadima pollster Kalman Geyer presented data indicating that the race was much closer than surveys indicated earlier this week. Three polls, published in Yisrael Hayom and broadcast on Channels 2 and 1, had given the Likud a lead of eight to 12 Knesset seats.
During the meeting, party strategist Lior Chorev admitted that Kadima had been hurt by a rightward shift in the public since Operation Cast Lead began on December 27. But he predicted that there was enough time before the election to reduce the impact of the war.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report