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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Likud is losing votes to ... Ketzelah?

Someone must be reading this blog.

A new poll out Tuesday night shows the Likud losing ground to two right-wing parties: Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) and Ichud Leumi (National Union).
A new poll released Tuesday points to a near-disaster for the Likud, headed by former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and a surge in popularity for Ichud Leumi (National Union), headed by Yaakov 'Ketzaleh' Katz [The man with the beard shaking hands with Netanyahu in the picture at the top. CiJ].

The results also reflect the pollsters' dilemma of how to deal with an estimated 20 percent of voters who remain undecided, a factor which has complicated their work and may be the reason behind vastly different rankings.

The results of the survey, which was carried out by Geocartographia in conjunction with Globes, are as follows:

Likud, 24-25
Kadima, 21
Labor, 17
Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu), 17
Shas, 11
Meretz, 8
Ichud Leumi, 6
Arab Parties, 6
United Torah Judaism, 6


Ichud Leumi and Yisrael Beiteinu's gains apparently have come at the expense of the Likud. If election results were to reflect the poll, Netanyahu would be heavily dependent on Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas, which would still would leave him with up to nine MKs less than the 61 he would need to form a coalition. In that case, he would need to include both UTJ and Ichud Leumi.

The results squeeze his options for a coalition with Labor, which almost certainly would not accept Yisrael Beiteinu as a coalition partner.
Over the past week, the Likud and the leftist media have tried four tactics to stop the Yisrael Beiteinu juggernaut. First was the release of the page from Martin Indyk's book that shows that Lieberman favors a 'Palestinian' state reichlet. Second, they revived an old criminal investigation that has been on the back burner for years, claiming that they got new evidence now, and using the investigation to base a claim that Lieberman would not be eligible for a senior ministry as part of any coalition agreement. Third, they had Haim Yavin, Israel's Dan Rather who moved from Channel 1 to cable a number of years ago, claim that Lieberman 'reminds' him of Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D (may God avenge his blood). And fourth, they claimed that Lieberman was a member of Kahane's Kach party - the only party ever banned from an Israeli election based upon the claim that it did not support a 'Jewish and democratic state,' because it proposed paying Arabs to leave the country. None of these tactics has succeeded in stopping the Lieberman juggernaut.

That the reconstituted Ichud Leumi (National Union), led by former Arutz Sheva Director General Yaakov Katz, is now polling six seats is, if anything, more surprising, because it is one half of a current party in the Knesset that has six seats (the other half is on the border of making the Knesset as well).

But Netanyahu must know that the news is even worse. Historically, the two groups that are under-represented in the polls are 'Israeli Arabs' and religious right wing voters. Additionally, many people here will not tell the pollsters - most of whom come from the Leftist media - how they intend to vote. Much of that 20% undecided is likely going to the Right.

In 1996, in Israel's version of Dewey v. Truman, we went to bed shortly after midnight thinking that Shimon Peres and Labor had defeated the Likud in a national election that took place six month's after Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. But in the days leading up to the election, there had been a furious campaign among religious, right-wing voters about how Netanyahu was "good for the Jews" (a generally innocuous saying that in this case was designed to highlight that Peres was good for the Arabs). At 6:00 AM the following morning, Netanyahu took the lead and won the election.

But Netanyahu is not the Right in this election - he's Center-Left. And it's beginning to look more and more that his nightmare of being the left side in a right wing coalition is going to come true.

If that happens, I'll be singing and dancing while doing my liveblog next Tuesday night.



At 11:45 PM, Blogger Eliyahu in Shilo said...

"But Netanyahu is not the Right in this election - he's Center-Left. And it's beginning to look more and more that his nightmare of being the left side in a right wing coalition is going to come true."


Don't get my hopes up like that. I've given up on being pleased by the election results. I just find it hard to believe that the right can pull it off in this country. I would LOVE to be wrong on this.

At 5:09 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

If Ichud-National Union won 10 seats, it would be a political earthquake... I think most of the Right Wing vote will go to Israel Beiteinu and Ichud National Union. They could win up to a combined 30 seats making them a force to be reckoned with in Israeli politics. Neither Labor nor Kadima are likely to win enough seats to help Bibi form a center-left coalition. Thus, I suspect some surprising results will be in the offing next week.

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all terribly wrong. Netanyahu is going to avoid the right like the plague.

The weaker the Likud, the more left the coalition will be.

No dancing for you, except for the Pirchei shuffle, which will be difficult enough to step to after we've shot ourselves in the foot again and again.

We will have zero influence in this next government, not from the opposition benches, which are still warm from our tuchoses have been planted there for decades, and not from within the Likud, from we've abandoned the potential for command and control to the likes of Netanyahu & Co.

What was it you said yesterday, Carl? "The more things change, the more they stay the same."


At 11:04 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Shy Guy,

Unless Netanyahu is hemmed in from the right, I don't expect to have any influence in the next government anyway. What do you think is going to happen the first time something is turned into a no-confidence vote? Either Benny and Boogie will vote with Bibi, or they will quit the Knesset. So I don't gain much by having them there.

On the other hand, should Bibi come in second and Livni form the government, I would expect Likud (which cannot afford another four years in opposition) to go into the government with Bibi as foreign or finance minister. While that's not a great result, it's no worse than a government headed by Bibi with Livni as foreign minister.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Livni is ten times worse than Bibi, who is very bad on his own.

What are you asking for? To be killed already?

And the goal of voting for the Likud is not only to give that trickle more independence to Bibi to choose his coalition partners but also to get the internal Likud opposition to Bibi in a position of influence.

None of this can be accomplished from outside of the Likud.

Go ahead and vote with your heart. But you'll be banging your head against the wall when you see how such votes will make bad only worse.

And then you'll have Bibi again in another 2-3-4 years. Round and round we go!

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: you'll have Bibi or Tzippi or Ehud or their heirs again in 2-3-4 years.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel's government like the French Fourth Republic is in its terminal stages. No Prime Minister in the last 20 years has completed two full terms of office. Something to think about. And no Israeli Charles de Gaulle is waiting in the wings to save the country.


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