Poll: Kadima retains strong lead in run-up

The centrist Kadima Party remains the strong front-runner in next month's national election, despite the impending takeover of the Palestinian government by Hamas, according to a new poll released Wednesday night. There has been widespread speculation that Hamas' recent victory in Palestinian legislative elections would sway Israeli voters toward hawkish parties. The Hamas-dominated parliament is scheduled to hold its first session on Saturday, and the group is expected to form a new Palestinian government in the coming weeks. According to Wednesday's poll, Kadima would win 40 seats in the 120-seat parliament, putting it in a strong position to head a new coalition government. The figure was unchanged from a poll conducted a week earlier. The dovish Labor Party fell to 19 seats from 21 the previous week, while Likud fell to 13 seats from 15. The election is scheduled March 28. Wednesday's survey was conducted for Channel 10 TV by the Dialogue polling agency. The poll surveyed 615 prospective voters and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.