Likud will grow to 37 seats in next Knesset, poll finds

If elections were held today, Kadima would drop to 17 mandates, Labor would become 2nd biggest party, Channel 2-Sarid Institute poll finds.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu and FM Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R) (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
PM Binyamin Netanyahu and FM Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R)
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
The Likud Party would win 37 seats in the next Knesset, and Labor would pass Kadima by five seats if elections were held today, according to a poll by Channel 2 and the Sarid Institute for Research Services, published Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s party would gain 10 seats in the next election, despite recent social protests. The pollsters explained that the bump was most likely due to the prisoner exchange in which Gilad Schalit was released from Hamas captivity.
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The poll also showed that Kadima would shrink from 28 to 17 MKs, possibly because of party leader Tzipi Livni’s criticism of the Schalit deal.
Labor, under the new leader Shelly Yacimovich, would become the second biggest faction in the Knesset with 22 mandates, as opposed to the current eight. The party won 13 seats in the previous election, but five MKs separated to form the Independence party, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu would remain with the 15 Knesset seats it currently has.
Netanyahu also led in responses to the question “Who is most suited to be Prime Minister?” with 41 percent. Yacimovich received 15%, while Kadima leader Tzipi Livni tied with Lieberman with 9%.
Last month, a Dialog poll published in Haaretz found that the Likud would lead with 26 seats, Labor would rise to 22, and Kadima and Israel Beiteinu would tie at 18 mandates each.
Kadima leaders took pains to downplay the poll.
Kadima Council chairman Haim Ramon said he learned from experience that new Labor leaders always receive a bounce in the polls, but end up winning 10 mandates less than polls had predicted immediately after they were elected.
“The polls can change 100 times between now and the election,” Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit said.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.