(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Right-wing Israelis outnumber those on the left by at least two-to-one, pollster Rafi Smith of the Rafi Smith Institute said on Wednesday.
He based his conclusion in part on a telephone poll he conducted Tuesday of 1,700 people who said they had voted, with a 2.4 percentage point margin of error.
When asked to identify their political beliefs, 30 percent of respondents said they were right wing, 13% said they were center-right, 23%-24% said they were center, 13% said they were center-left and 6% said they were on the Left. Another 15 percent refused to answer.
Smith said the number of left-wing voters was higher than what was reflected in the combined 16 mandates the Labor and Meretz parties received in Tuesday's election, a drop of eight from the 24 seats they garnered in 2006.
Still, that number was a significant drop from the 1992 vote, when Labor and Meretz together won 56 mandates, he said.
"We are in a different time and the Israeli public has turned rightward, as expressed in this election," Smith said.
In addition, this time around, Labor and Meretz lost seats to Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni largely because left-wing voters hoped that by bolstering her, they would limit the rising power of the right-wing Israel Beiteinu.
Kadima won the most seats by grabbing votes that had previously gone to Labor and Meretz, he said.
For many, it was a last-minute decision, Smith said. Twenty percent of the voters chose their parties on Election Day and another 9% made up their mind in the days just before they headed to the polls.
The numbers were significantly higher among those who wound up voting for Kadima - 27% decided to vote for the party on Election Day and 13% made up their minds in the days leading up to the election, Smith said.
One-third of Labor voters in 2006 chose Kadima this time around. Similarly, 35%-40% of those who voted for Meretz in 2006 opted for Kadima in 2009. Thirty percent of those who voted for the Pensioners Party in 2006 turned to Kadima on Tuesday.
Most of those who left Kadima after having voted for it in 2006 moved rightward; 20% voted Likud and 6% voted for Israel Beiteinu, while 11% voted for Labor.
Out of the 2009 Kadima voters polled, only 5% said they were right wing, 13% said they were center-right, 49% said they were center, 26% said they were center-left or left, and 6%-7% had no opinion.
Smith contrasted this to the Likud's voters, of whom 50% said they were right wing, 25% said they center-right, 15% said they were center, 2% said they were center-left, and 9% had no opinion.
Smith found that more women voted for Kadima than did men. For the Likud it was just the opposite.