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Friday, February 06, 2009

Yisrael Beiteinu within margin of error of Kadima, Likud a loser even if they win

The final pre-election poll numbers appear in today's newspapers. While there is some variation between them, the numbers all show Netanyahu and Likud clinging to a narrow lead over Kadima, which is being threatened by Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu.
According to the poll, the battle between Labor and Israel Beiteinu has been decided. Lieberman is clearly the leader of the third largest party. He can now break off the battle with Labor chairman Ehud Barak and challenge Livni for second place. The gap between Israel Beiteinu and Kadima is now within the range of statistical error, with Kadima currently predicted to take 22-23 seats, up from 21 last week.

After losing altitude dramatically in the past few weeks, Likud has now stabilized on 26 seats, compared with 24-25 in last week's poll. Most of the support it has lost has gone to Lieberman.

If the poll proves correct, this will be the third time in Israel's history that no party has passed the 30-seat mark. The last time it happened was in 1999, when Barak won the premiership. Labor (One Israel) won 26 seats in that election, Likud 19, and Shas 17. Within eighteen months Barak resigned and there were more elections.

At the time, the blame was put on the split-vote system, with voters being able to vote separately for parties in the Knesset and for prime minister. But now, after the old single-vote system has been restored, the result is similar. The problem is apparently not with the system but with the leadership vacuum. Ariel Sharon won 38 seats in 2003, but no-one else is capable of such a feat. The result is four medium-sized parties, none of them dominant. This means an unstable coalition in which the member parties will be able to extract large concession to their constituencies. Another election is likely before very long.

Despite the changes between individual parties, the picture as far as right-wing and left-wing blocks are concerned is stable. The left has 51 seats, the right 69. That means that Netanyahu will most likely form the government. But if a month he looked as though he was in coalition heaven, now it looks more like hell.
Reader Aryeh Z. - who sent me the article - comments.
The numbers here look about right. If they hold up on election day, it will be a major refutation of Netanyahu and a big boost for Feiglin.

Feiglin has consistently warned the Likud that only an unambiguous, nationalist (aka right-wing) stance can hold the voters to the Likud. Polls showed a significant drop in public support for the Likud right after Netanyahu's dirty tricks that bumped Feiglin and other nationalist down the party list. The polls at the time predicted that the Likud would loose at least five seats as a result and it seems that Lieberman will be picking up those seats lost to the Likud. All this because of the open contempt Netanyahu showed for the nationalist camp. Lieberman's jump in public support rubs the face of the Likud into the mess of Netanyahu.

In short, even if Netanyahu will become Prime Minister once again (not at all a forgone conclusion by the way), his Government will be very unstable and he will face great animosity from within the Likud for only getting in by the skin of his teeth. Many key Ministries will have to be given away to Lieberman, SHAS, National Union and whoever else joins the coalition. Those will all obviously be Ministries the Likud will not have and the Likud havenots will not be very forgiving.

Furthermore, Lieberman, having come so far, will definitely see himself as a potential Prime Minister so that even if he joins a Likud lead coalition, he will be doing whatever he can to upstage Netanyahu and undermine his position. This will also add to Netanyahu's weakening support within the Likud.

Then, of course, there is the wild card, the joker in the deck know as the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres. Mister nonpartisan could without the least bit of compunction just bypass Netanyahu altogether and invite Livni of Kadima to try and form a Government or even Lieberman. All on the grounds of preserving democracy of course.

Ironically, the big looser of this election will be Netanyahu, even if he wins.
Bingo. And the numbers:

If the elections were held today, which party would you vote for?

Result in numbers of Knesset seats.
The number in brackets is the number of seats in the outgoing Knesset.

Likud 26 (12)
Kadima 22-23 (29)
Israel Beiteinu 20-21 (11)
Labor 15-16 (19)
Shas 10 (12)
National Union 6 (-)*
United Torah Judaism 5 (6)
Meretz 5 (5)
Hadash 5 (3)
Arab list 3 (4)
Habayit Hayehudi 2 (9)*

*National Union-NRP

Even if Likud wins, it loses. They could have had 31-32 Knesset seats (at least) if Bibi hadn't tried to play both sides of the coin. The country is to the Likud's right and the people are determined to make sure that Netanyahu cannot form a left-wing government.

And no, if the polls are correct, don't expect the next government to last four years either.


At 9:27 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

I'm surprised that Kadima would be that high. With the corruption and mismanagement associated with it, I couldn't see anyone voting for them.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Some people are still voting for them... but Kadima is widely despised and I don't think it will get even 20 seats. Bibi's problem is not seeing off Tzipi Livni but rather Avigdor Lieberman.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Avi Green said...

Carl, I don't think you seem to realize why Feiglin and Lieberman are both dangerous, for different and similar reasons. I've spoken on my own blog about their problems. For example, here's something about Lieberman. You might want to consider that much of the "leftist" press is promoting Lieberman because they're afraid of Bibi, and want to undermine him. Lieberman also has connections to Martin Schlaff, the Jericho casino tycoon.

As for Feiglin, he has acted very irrationally, and attacked Bibi without being constructive. In fact, I suggest you take a look at this post I found, which tells something very surprising about Feiglin and his group.

Carl, if Feiglin and company really attacked religious Zionists, isn't that bizarre, and assuming that you consider yourself one, isn't that rather insulting? I'm afraid West Bank Mama is right, Manhigut Yehudit did cross the line, and his whole approach is unsuitable for a politician. I cannot and will not support Feiglin, and am shocked that anyone would suppress info about some of the stupider things Feiglin's done.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There's Uzi Landau, who just happens to oppose a Palestinian State and the redivision of Jerusalem and he's No. 2 on the IB list. If the party comes in first, he will be a major player in an IB-led government.

People in Israel like novelty and they tend to discount much of the leftist attacks on Lieberman as pure cynicism. And he at least is addressing the Arab threat, which none of the major parties has raised. Love him or hate him, he has a clear and consistent message going for him and what's clear as we head into Shabbos and the last weekend before the election Sunday, is that the IB's plateau hasn't peaked yet.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Avi Green said...

Oh, one more thing: Lieberman may want to give away parts of Israel; it's hardly a secret. He's spoken about "transfers".

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It will be very interesting to see exactly what does happen on the 10th. If the trend reflected in the latest polls continues, and that is reflected in the vote, because the "right" is spliting the vote and not unifying, Kadima may actually win! Isn't it ironic that after clamoring for new elections the past couple years to replace the appeasement government led by Kadima, Kadima may win anyway? Tzipy could be Israel's next prime minister. She and Ehud Barak would continue to make the policies.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Avi Green,

I wrote a week ago or more that I would not vote for Yisrael Beiteinu. I attributed it to Lieberman's positions on the creation of a 'Palestinian' state, but from my perspective there is also plenty about his positions on religious issues to cause concern.

I have warmer feelings for Feiglin. He is definitely a political amateur, but the way Netanyahu treated him - both after the leadership primary and after the vote for the Knesset slate - is simply inexcusable and says a lot about where Netanyahu sees the Likud going.


Being number 2 on a list assures you of nothing. Don't assume that if Yisrael Beiteinu gets six ministers, Uzi Landau will be one of them. And don't assume that if he gets a ministry it will be an important one.


While I will be sorry if Livni becomes Prime Minister, I'm not sure we're so much worse off than if Bibi becomes Prime Minister and has Livni as his foreign minister and Barak as his defense minister.

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Avi Green, why don't you quote what Bibi originally said, so that you can put in context why Moshe Feiglin called him an anti-Semite.

Moshe Feiglin did not "attack" the great people of Gush katif, whom he loves and is in close touch with.

Try being a bit less usperficial in your analysis, unless of course some agenda of yours overrides that.


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