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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poll: Netanyahu would win election

This should come as a surprise to no one. If an election were held in Israel today, regardless of who leads the Kadima party, Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and the Likud would win (Hat Tip: Memeorandum) according to a survey released by Channel 10 television just after Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert announced his eventual resignation on Wednesday night.
When those polled were asked to pick between Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for future prime minister, 36 percent said they preferred Netanyahu, as opposed to 24.6 percent who chose Livni. Barak was chosen by 11.9 percent of respondents, significantly less than the fourth choice "none of the above," which garnered 19 percent.

Netanyahu scored higher when Livni's name was replaced by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz in the survey, with 36.6 percent of respondents picking him, over 14.8 percent for Barak, 12 percent for Mofaz, and 27.4 percent for "none of the above."

Furthermore, when asked if they were happy with Olmert's performance as prime minister, 77.3% said they were not satisfied.
In a word, so what? As I have already explained, the likelihood that Netanyahu will represent a significant policy departure from Olmert and Livni is quite small. To date, Netanyahu has shown no interest in forcing the government out of power - which is what the opposition is supposed to do - and instead seems perfectly content to wait for the current government to take all of the necessary steps to surrender to the 'Palestinians' and the Syrians and then work with the results for which he will no longer be to blame. As he had hoped to do with the Gaza expulsion when he stayed in the government in the hope that one day he - and not Olmert - would replace Sharon.

Second, the odds are that there will not be an election for another two years and three months unless someone (Shas? Labor?) decides to bring down the government. Kadima's MK's - and probably Labor's as well - will do all they can to keep the government in power for the next two years because they know that if the government falls and there are new elections, many of them will no longer have the salaries and perquisites of Knesset members. And after all, wasn't the world created for the Knesset members? As David Hazony points out:
We learn two things from these polls: First: Israelis are really not interested in the current government, and are likely to punish not only Kadima but also their coalition partner, Labor. Second: for this very reason, both Kadima and Labor are likely to do everything in their power to keep the government going as long as possible. The key to Israel’s political future, then, rests, as it so often does, with the coalition’s third-largest party, Shas. And Shas is likely to milk its current position as political linchpin for all it’s worth.
Where have we heard that before?

And unlike Kadima and Labor, Shas' MK's are in little jeopardy of losing their seats if there's a new election.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

What realistically could BiBi have done to bring down this government? You have repeatedly told us that there is nothing one can do when credulous LGF commenters say: why doesn't the right just protest.

Shas was not budging and not sure what you think Bibi could have done to bring down government sooner.

I think his staying Sharon's cabinet and voting originally for Gaza expuslion is however a serious mistake, which I think he realizes now. He was playing personal politics - thinking it would usher him in, and I think he genuinely thought that Sharon would have a much harder time ramming expulsion through. He underestimated Sharon and everyone paid for it.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Nothing much is going to change regardless of who is Prime Minister. Israel's Left, with its control of the bureaucracy, police and judiciary, will continue to drag Israel down the road to national extinction. A couple of weeks ago, Carl posted a column on the lack of patriotism and national will that is slowly consuming Israel from within. The moral cowardice and political ineptness of Israel's entire ruling class is merely symptom of that larger disease. Its going to be a huge challenge to save Israel and the enormity of it is underscored by the fact so few people care about the country to want to save it from the forces destroying from within.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

J. Lichty,

What Bibi could be doing is putting a lot more pressure on Shas to leave the government. They should be called on the carpet for putting their personal interests ahead of those of the national polity. That has not been happening. And to the extent that anyone in the Likud is pressuring Shas, it's not him. He personally has been silent.


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