Thursday, March 31, 2011

Midterm Poll: Likud and Right-wing bloc strengthening to 71 seats

(Globes).An opinion poll commissioned from Rafi Smith by "Globes" showed that the public is not bothered by the severe criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's overseas trips, which were allegedly paid for by overseas donors. The poll found the Likud strengthening by two mandates from 27 to 29.

Other right wing parties also fared well in the poll. Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beitenu climbed from 15 to 16 mandates, and Ichud Leumi was up from four to six mandates in the 120 seat Knesset.

Shas remained on eleven mandates, while the New National Religious party remained on three mandates. The ultra orthodox United Torah Judaism party gains one seat from five to six.

Moving to the opposition, Kadima would lose one of its Knesset representation from 28 to 27. All the left wing parties lost ground. Labor plummeted from 13 mandates to seven, while Defense Minister Ehud Barak's new Atzmaut party would not win any seats. Meretz slipped back from five to three seats.

The "Globes" poll found the Arab parties increasing from 10 to 11 mandates.

However, the poll did not take into account the possibility that charismatic figures like former Shas minister Arieh Deri and TV celebrity Yair Lapid may form independent parties. A poll published by Israel Radio found that a party led by Lapid could win nine seats and a party led by Deri could win seven mandates. Moreover, it is not yet known who will lead the Labor party into the next Knesset elections.