Likud-Beiteinu maintains lead in pre-election polls

Benjamin Netanyahu

Three Israeli election polls predicted victory by a comfortable margin for Israel’s Likud-Beiteinu party in the country’s general elections on Jan. 22.

A survey published in Ma’ariv has the party’s list led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clinching 38 seats, followed by Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor with 16 seats and Naftali Bennett’s nationalist Jewish Home party with 13.

Last month, Netanyahu joined his Likud party to Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to unite in a right-wing list for this election.

The Sephardi haredi Shas party received 12 seats in the poll; the secularist Yesh Atid party, led by Yair Lapid, garnered eight seats and Tzippi Livni’s Hatnua party got seven. The poll was based on replies made last week by 1,000 voters.

In the poll, the centre-right bloc had 52 seats, not including Shas, which many view as a rightist movement though it has joined both left-wing and right-wing coalitions. The centre-left bloc had 39 seats including the party of Lapid, who, unlike Yachimovich and Livni, has not excluded the possibility of joining a Likud-led coalition.

The three Arab parties got a combined electoral strength of 10 seats. Arab parties, while not seen as part of the centre-left bloc, have supported centre-left governments from outside the government.

A poll published in Yedioth Achronot based on the replies of 1,000 respondents and conducted by the Dahaf polling company predicted 33 seats for Likud-Beiteinu; 18 seats for Labor; 14 seats for Jewish Home; 11 seats for Yesh Atid and 10 seats for Shas. In the Dahaf poll, the centre-right bloc has 49 seats compared to the centre-left’s 45 seats.

A Smith Research poll published by the Jerusalem Post has Likud Beiteinu leading with 34 seats; Labor with 18 seats; Jewish home with 14; Yesh Atid and Shas with 10 seats each and Livni’s party with eight.

The poll surveyed 870 people representing a statistical sample of the adult population and had an error margin of 3.3 percentage points, compared to 4.5 points in the two other polls.

Kadima clinched two seats in all three polls. It received 28 seats in the 2009 elections.