Thursday, January 22, 2009

Globes poll: Likud maintains lead, Lieberman strengthens

The first survey carried out by "Globes" with Geocartography after the end of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza shows the right continuing to strengthen and leader of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu consolidating his status as prime minister in waiting. If the elections were held today, Likud, according to the survey, would receive 32 out of the 120 Knesset seats, while the right wing block as a whole would receive 69 seats. This is all before campaigning, suspended by the war, begins in earnest.
Although the Likud has dropped one seat since last week's poll, the gap that Netanyahu opened up on the ruling parties before the war has been maintained. Not only has Kadima, the ruling party, not benefitted electorally from the war, but it even lost ground, and is down from 22 seats a week ago to 21 today. It is doubtful whether the tables can be turned in the time that remains. Nevertheless, in Israeli politics three weeks are an eternity, and the political agenda, which started with clean government, and moved to the economy, and then to security, can still shift again more than once.

If Netanyahu thought that his nightmare Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) leader Avigdor Lieberman as minister of defense had passed, he was wrong. Israel Beiteinu has risen by two seats since last week, now standing at sixteen. The party is now one seat ahead of Labor, which stands at fifteen seats.

Behind Labor is Shas with nine seats, down one since last week, United Torah Judaism with five seats (down two), Meretz also with five (unchanged), Habayit Hayehudi with four seats (up one), Haihud Haleumi with thee seats (unchanged), and the Arab parties with ten seats (unchanged).

Theoretically, the projected results give Netanyahu a wide range of options for forming a coalition, but his public obligation as head of Likud will be to form a right-wing government