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soldier votes 298.88.(Photo by: IDF)
'Wasted' votes expected to hit Left harder than Right
Hilary Leila Krieger
03/27/2006
Left will lose four mandates, Right will lose two.
Votes to parties that won't pass the threshold will cost the Left four mandates on Tuesday, pollster Camil Fuchs predicted Sunday. Only two mandates will be forfeited by the Right, according to Fuchs, a professor of statistics at Tel Aviv University. Other political analysts agreed that the Left would lose more than the Right due to "wasted votes," since more of the small parties likely to grab voters - such as the Green Leaf and pensioners' parties - sit on the left side of the spectrum. Hebrew University political science professor Itzhak Galnoor pointed to Meretz and the Arab parties as particularly vulnerable to "critical" losses due to votes cast for small parties that don't end up passing the threshold. Meretz could yield votes to the Green Leaf Party, while the Arab parties could divide up votes among themselves in a way that keeps many on their lists out of the Knesset. Galnoor noted, however, that not every single ballot cast for small parties would have gone to the larger parties closest to them ideologically. Some ballots for small parties are cast as "identification" votes, he said, because individuals feel very strongly about a specific, narrow party ideology. Galnoor said that with the threshold raised and voter turnout low, the lost votes would have a bigger effect than usual, since fewer votes would then actually decide the Knesset composition. Fellow Hebrew University professor Avraham Diskin called it the principle whereby "the more people believe that their vote doesn't count, the more it counts." Diskin said that there have been elections where votes given to parties below the threshold significantly influence the outcome of the election, notably in 1992 when the Right won the popular vote, but the Left wound up with more Knesset representation. But in the current election Diskin, for one, doesn't expect such a dramatic difference between "wasted votes" cast for the Right and Left. "It's very open," he said.
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