Former prime minister Ehud Barak has become the top candidate for the Labor leadership, according to a survey published in Ma'ariv on Wednesday morning. The poll, published only three days after Barak first declared his candidacy for party chairman, showed the former prime minister leading the Labor race with 30 percent of voters on his side. Opponents Ami Ayalon, Ophir Paz-Pines and current Chairman Amir Peretz came in with 23%, 18% and 12% respectively.
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These figures marked a significant jump from former polls, which put Ayalon several percentage points above Barak.
Ayalon said Wednesday that he wasn't worried by the results of the poll.
Barak supporter MK Shalom Simhon, meanwhile, said the survey was indicative of a trend.
Ayalon also trailed Barak in Wednesday's poll on the question of who was most likely to win the next election.
According to the survey, 38% of Labor Party activists believe Barak has the best chance of winning, while 23% think Ayalon will be the victor. Peretz came in last on this issue, as well, with only 12% expressing confidence in the current chairman's ability to win.
As for who supporters felt was the most appropriate candidate for defense minister, 48% supported Barak, 29% backed Ayalon, and a mere 4.8% felt Peretz should continue in the defense post.
Of those surveyed, 48% said Barak, once considered one of the country's least-popular politicians, had changed for the better, while 34% said he hadn't changed at all. Only 4% felt that the former prime minister had changed for the worse.