Friday, January 21, 2011

Haaretz Poll: Despite low Approval rating, Netanyahu favored to form and lead next Government as Prime Minister

(via Yossi Verter-Haaretz)...In this week's Haaretz-Dialog public opinion poll,in first time in 2 years Netanyahu fell below the red line: More than half of the respondents are not satisfied with his performance. only 39% approve his performance as PM, while 54% disapprove.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu's tenure is not in danger. If elections were held today, he could easily cobble together a new government. According to the survey, supervised by Prof. Camil Fuchs at Tel Aviv University's statistics department, the Likud/right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc would get stronger, with 69 MKs, whereas the center-left bloc would get only 51 seats.

Likud gains +5 seats (32 to current 27), Kadima +2 (30 to current 28), Lieberman 15, Shas 11, Barak-Independence party 2, Labor 5.

In terms of suitability to be prime minister, Netanyahu trounces opposition leader Kadima MK Tzipi Livni 48 percent to 31 percent. As prime minister, Netanyahu may not be answering to most voters' expectations, but they prefer him to the only alternative.

Though Livni succeeded in raking in two more Knesset seats for her party from the Labor Party in the last elections, as per this poll, they are likely to return to Labor once it gets back on its feet, chooses a leader and embarks on a new path.

The breakaway by Barak and his pals to form Atzmaut (which means "independence" in Hebrew ) also gave Labor, well, more independence - from those who broke away. If the mutual loathing among the eight remaining MKs were to be converted into energy, it could heat all of Ramat Gan. Ben-Eliezer calls MK Shelly Yachimovich "a turbine of hatred." She considers him worse than Barak.

Barak's situation is dreadful. Less than a third of the respondents are satisfied with his performance as defense minister. His years at the Defense Ministry, first under Olmert and now under Netanyahu, may have been Israel's best, security-wise, but this man is now so hated as a politician and as a person that people will not give him credit for anything. His party, Atzmaut, would get about the minimum needed to make it into the Knesset, says the survey.

The poll also examined two potential new political forces: Yair Lapid and Aryeh Deri. If either founds a new party, he would get about 7 percent of votes, meaning 8 or 9 Knesset seats. This is an utterly virtual scenario, but it still shows something. The blocs will not be the same again.