Polls find Likud losing ground

Strategist cites "post-Feiglin effect" that resulted in right-wing voters leaving party.

livni smug kadima 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
livni smug kadima 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
The Likud Party has lost a few seats since its December 8 party primary and now enjoys a narrower lead over Kadima, a consensus of polls published over the last two days found. The poll that gives the Likud the largest lead, which was taken by Shvakim Panorama for Israel Radio, predicted that Likud would win 32 seats and Kadima 23. The same pollster gave the Likud a 14-seat lead two weeks ago. Polls taken for Channels 1 and 2 also gave the Likud a relatively large lead. The Channel 1 poll said Likud led Kadima 34 to 26, while Channel 2's Ma'agar Mohot poll predicted the Likud would win 31 seats and Kadima 25. The other pollsters found that the race was much closer. A Dialogue poll published in Ha'aretz and a Dahaf Institute poll for Yediot Aharonot each predicted that Likud would beat Kadima 30 to 26. Since the last Dahaf poll two weeks ago, the Likud lost one seat and Kadima gained two. The Dialogue poll found that Likud had lost six seats in two weeks to right-wing parties, while Kadima failed to capitalize on the Likud's losses and lost a seat. A Likud strategist said there was a "post-Feiglin effect" that resulted in right-wing voters leaving Likud after party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu went too far in forcing his nemesis, party activist Moshe Feiglin, down the Likud list. He said the Likud had lost the momentum it gained from celebrities joining the party by focusing too much on procedural matters and not on the key issues facing the country. But other Likud strategists said there was no connection between the fall in the polls and the fight against Feiglin. "Our handling of Feiglin was correct and I don't regret it," a Likud strategist said. "The chairman did whatever he could to get the best possible slate of candidates to run the country after the election."