Final polls give right wing narrowest lead of race

Four days before elections, support for Likud-Beytenu is lower than ever; 15% of voters remain undecided

 By Ron Friedman and Yoel Goldman

Polls released Friday, the last date permitted by election law for publishing pre-election surveys, give the right wing-Orthodox bloc just 63 seats, the narrowest lead it’s held throughout the entire campaign season.
According to both Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz, the joint Likud-Beytenu list is predicted to win 32 seats, 10 fewer than the two parties hold in the current Knesset and the lowest the list has polled since announcing the union in October.
The Labor Party is predicted to win 17 seats, report both dailies — a slight gain from polls published earlier in the week.
Fifteen percent of likely voters remain undecided with just four days to go before the elections, according to both papers.
Forty-seven percent of likely voters said that socioeconomic considerations are the No. 1 issue on election day, reported Haaretz, while 18 percent said that peace talks with the Palestinians were the most important.
The major shift, according to the Yedioth poll, conducted by Mina Tzemach of the Dahaf Research Institute, was in the competition for third place, where Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party surpassed Naftali Bennett’s religious Zionist Jewish Home party. The poll gave Yesh Atid 13 Knesset seats and Jewish Home 12.
The Haaretz-Dialog survey gave Lapid 12 seats in the next Knesset, with Jewish Home projected to garner 14.
Bennett’s party polled as high as 15 seats earlier in the week.
Yedioth projected 11 seats for Shas, and Haaretz gave the Orthodox faction 12 seats. Shas, unsurprisingly, came out ahead of Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, which garnered eight potential seats, according to both surveys.
Both polls gave the left-wing Meretz party six seats.
The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party was projected to win six and five seats, according to Yedioth and Haaretz, respectively.
Kadima — currently the largest faction in the Knesset — manages to scrape over the electoral threshold with two seats, according to both polls.
The far-right Otzma Leyisrael was notably shut out of the Knesset in the Haaretz poll, while it was projected to get two seats by Yedioth.
Yedioth gave the combined Arab lists, including the Balad, Ra’am Ta’al and Hadash parties, 11 seats, while Haaretz projected 12 seats.
Tallying the seats according to blocs gives the right wing just 63 seats out of 120 — enough to form a narrow coalition that would commit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a markedly nationalist agenda, likely preventing him from taking any steps toward renewing peace talks with the Palestinians. Netanyahu is widely believed to want a more diverse coalition; his likely defense minister, former IDF chief of staff and outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, said earlier this week Netanyahu would seek a national unity government.
Both surveys were conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. Yedioth’s results were based on interviews with 1,000 likely voters. Haaretz-Dialog’s findings were based on 712 respondents.
A poll of polls published by Maariv on Friday projected 69 Knesset seats for a right-wing bloc, leaving 51 spots for a potential alliance of center-left and Arab parties.
That poll took the averages of surveys conducted by Maariv, Israel Radio, Israel Hayom, Walla and Channels 2 and 10, all released between Tuesday and Thursday.




THE TIMES OF ISRAEL- January 18, 2013





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