Survey, taken on eve of Carmel fire, puts Netanyahu 10 points ahead of Livni as preferred prime minister. Right and Center-Right parties would rise from their current 65 seats to 69 and the Left-Center bloc would fall from 55 to 51, according to a Smith Consulting poll carried out for The Jerusalem Post before last weekend’s Carmel Forest fire.
It predicted that Likud would win one more mandate than Kadima, 30 to 29, instead of the 28 seats for Kadima and 27 for Likud in the current Knesset. Israel Beiteinu and Shas would remain at 15 and 11 seats, respectively.
In a dramatic shift on the Left, Labor would fall from 13 seats to only six and Meretz would double its current total of three mandates to match Labor.
Arab parties would win 10 seats, down one, United Torah Judaism would rise from five seats to seven, and the two religious-Zionist parties – the National Union and Habayit Hayehudi – would each win three.
Asked who they would prefer as prime minister, 40% of respondents said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, 30% opposition leader Tzipi Livni, and 30% had no preference or opinion. Among voters who have not decided which party to vote for, 33% said they preferred Livni and 31% Netanyahu, while 36% would not say.
Other polls taken this week have suggested that the public was relatively satisfied with Netanyahu’s handling of the fire. A Teleseker poll published in Tuesday’s Ma’ariv found that 40.7% prefer Netanyahu as prime minister, 24.5% Livni, 11.6% Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 2.5% Defense Minister Ehud Barak, 16% none of the above, and 4.6% did not know.