Sunday, January 6, 2013

Israelis 'Like' Bibi - On Facebook, Netanyahu Has Already been Reelected

On January 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's political Facebook page received its 400,000th "Like." Netanyahu's page, which is operated by Likud and is available in Hebrew, English and occasionally Arabic, is the most popular of all Israeli politicians' Facebook pages.

While it might serve as a measure for popularity, it's unlikely to translate into votes, Haaretz writes. Someone who once supported Netanyahu but now prefers Naftali Bennett, or vice versa, isn't likely to "Unlike" the politician he abandoned. Many people on Facebook "Like" someone's page so they can goad and argue with that person or with others, and plenty of people "Like" more than one politician simply to monitor what they say. 

 Still, when comparing the number of "Likes" with the number of Knesset seats predicted by the polls over the past two weeks, one finds no correlation with the amount of projected seats. Netanyahu has 400,000 "Likes" and Avigdor Lieberman has 136,000, which is far less than the amount of votes needed to obtain 35 Knesset seats.

By contrast, Shelly Yacimovich has only 73,000 "Likes," far fewer than either Bennett or Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid, yet her party is number two in the polls. As for Shas, co-leader Aryeh Deri has 25,000 "Likes," while co-leader Eli Yishai has 8,000.