'Jerusalem Post' poll: Likud-Beytenu in free fall

Smith Research poll finds Likud's joint list with Yisrael Beytenu falls to 34 seats from 36 in one week, Bayit Yehudi gains 3 seats.

Liberman and Netanyahu 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Liberman and Netanyahu 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list continued its political tailspin, falling to a new nadir of only 34 seats in a Smith Research survey this week.
The poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post and the financial newspaper Globes, found that Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, which together have 42 seats in the current Knesset, have fallen in support from 36 seats a week ago, 39 two weeks ago, and 46 when the parties were separate and at their peak in August.
Two other polls released Thursday also found that Likud Beytenu had fallen to 34 seats.
A Likud MK complained that the Likud was not campaigning enough and that the party’s hawks were being hidden despite the public moving rightward. Likud MKs blamed the party’s strategist, Arthur Finkelstein, for misjudging the electorate.
“He thought we could win without a campaign,” said the MK, who asked not to be identified. “Now we woke up late, and we are being attacked on all sides.”
The latest trigger for Likud Beytenu’s free fall was Netanyahu and other Likud leaders attacking Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett for saying his conscience would not permit him, as a reserve soldier, to evacuate Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria. The Right saw the attacks as excessive and as opening fire on a political ally inside the right-wing bloc.
Bayit Yehudi, which won only three seats in 2009, rose from 10 to 11 seats last week, and to 14 this week, according to the poll. Surprisingly, one-third of the former National Religious Party’s voters define themselves as secular, and 40 percent of Bayit Yehudi’s support comes from voters aged 30 and younger. The older voters get, the less likely they are to vote for the party.
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“Sometimes the older generation marginalizes the youth of our country, saying they are only interested in iPads and video games,” said Bayit Yehudi candidate Jeremy Gimpel, who is 14th on the list. “The fact that we are the most popular party among young Israelis is testimony that Israel’s next generation is as passionate and Zionist as ever.”
The poll predicts 18 seats for Labor, 11 for Shas, 10 each for Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party, six for United Torah Judaism, four each for Meretz, Hadash and Balad, three for the United Arab List-Ta’al, and two for Am Shalem.
Five hundred people representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population were interviewed by telephone for the poll, which has an error margin of 4.5%.
A separate survey, which Panels conducted for the weekend Hebrew newspaper Sof Hashavua, asked respondents whether the likelihood they would vote for Bayit Yehudi had risen or fallen over the past week.
Among the general public, 15% said they were more likely to vote for the party, and 11% said less likely.
Among Likud-Beytenu voters, the numbers were equal, at 11%. Among Bayit Yehudi voters, 49% said more likely and 3% said less likely.
An analysis of Likud Beytenu’s voters by Panels pollster Menahem Lazar found that out of the joint list’s 34 seats, only five of them came from people who had voted Yisrael Beytenu in the 2009 election. Yisrael Beytenu’s other 10 seats have been lost since the merger between the two lists.
Another reason seen for the drop in Likud Beytenu’s support is Liberman’s pending indictment. Among Likud Beytenu voters, 57% said law enforcement authorities were wrongly pursuing him, 20% said they were being fair, and 6% said they were being too easy on him.
The Panels poll predicted 34 seats for Likud Beytenu, 18 for Labor, 14 for Bayit Yehudi, 10 each for Yesh Atid and Shas, eight for Livni, six for UTJ, five for UAL-Ta’al, four each for Meretz and Hadash, three for Strong Israel, and two each for Am Shalem and Balad.
The poll of 530 respondents took place Tuesday and Wednesday and had a margin of error of 4.3%.