'Post' poll: War boosting Likud, Labor

'Post'/Smith survey sees Likud at 29 seats, Labor at 15; Kadima loses 4 since last poll 2 months ago.

Olmert barak south 248 88 (photo credit: GPO)
Olmert barak south 248 88
(photo credit: GPO)
Both Likud and Labor have received a boost, while Kadima has floundered, according to a Smith Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post this week amid Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. The survey found that the Likud had risen from 27 seats to 29, Labor had gone up from 14 to 15, and Kadima had fallen from 27 to 23 since the previous Post poll was published on October 31. Likud and Kadima, which were tied then, are now six seats apart, and the Right bloc's advantage over the Left remains a hefty eight mandates, 64 to 56. While the survey's 500 respondents were undoubtedly influenced by the Gaza fighting that raged as the poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, many other events, including the drafting of the parties' Knesset lists, have occurred over the past two months to influence voter opinion. A consensus of other polls taken more regularly has found that Likud's and Kadima's support has remained steady since the air offensive began on Saturday, while Labor has gained substantially due to the battle led by its chairman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak. In other polls, Labor fell from 15 to as few as eight seats and has since gone back up. The Post survey found that both national religious parties, Habayit Hayehudi and the National Union, would pass the 2 percent electoral threshold. Pollster Rafi Smith said the public was not yet aware of the differences between the two parties that recently split. The poll predicted that the Green Party would narrowly cross the threshold while the Pensioners Party, Meimad-Green Movement, and Green Leaf would fail to enter the Knesset. Smith said 15% of respondents identified themselves as floating voters. Such people were more likely to be secular, older, women, or immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Young people and Arabs were the least likely to vote, the poll found. Asked whether they found the Likud and Kadima lists attractive, respondents were equally positive and negative about Likud's candidates. Fifty-one percent said they found the Kadima list unattractive, while just 28% said it attracted them. Other polls published this week found that 81% of Israelis supported the war in Gaza, but only 63% believed it would succeed in stopping rocket fire on the South. The surveys were divided on whether there should be a ground offensive in the Strip or whether Israel should seek a cease-fire. A Ma'agar Mohot poll broadcast Wednesday night on Channel 2 found that Barak's rating as defense minister had skyrocketed since the war began, from 23% to 60%.