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Protests a Flop in the Polls

Great expectations of anti-government protesters to topple Netanyahu were pipe dreams, according to a poll. Even secular Israelis prefer Bib
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/1/2011, 2:55 PM

Tent protesters watch Netanyahu
Tent protesters watch Netanyahu
Yoni Kempinski

Great expectations of anti-government protesters and Israeli media to topple Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were pipe dreams, according to a new poll carried out Sunday. Even secular Israelis think that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the most qualified politician to lead the country.

The “Maagar Mohot" – Brain Base – poll, supervised by Prof. Yitzchak Katz, was reported by Channel 10 television as revealing that one-third of the respondents said Prime Minister Netanyahu is the “most appropriate” person to serve as leader of the country.

Most polls usually fail to give anyone a majority, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s backing is nearly double that of his nearest competitor, Opposition leader Tzipi Livni .

Only 19 percent think she is the most qualified person to serve in the position of Prime Minister, and in third place was government coalition partner Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, with 11 percent. Backing for Ehud Barak, who left the Labor party to form a new faction, was neglible.

Slightly more than one-fourth of the respondents did not choose anyone as being appropriate to lead the country.

Significantly, 32 percent of secular Israelis between the ages of 18 and 30 chose Prime Minister Netanyahu, followed by 24 percent for Lieberman and 23 percent for Livni. The figures disprove a claim by left-wing politician and media personality Yair Lapid, who said on Sunday that the protest movement is comprised mainly of secularists who represent what he said is the largest minority in the country.

Support for Netanyahu jumped to 53 percent among new immigrants, compared with only 2 percent for Livni and 1 percent for Lieberman.

Nearly half – 48 percent – said the social protests would not change their decision on whom to vote for in the next Knesset elections in 2013. Those who said the protests would affect their decision numbered 37 percent, with 11 percent saying they were not sure. However, their choice for Prime Minister reflects the current strength in the Knesset of the Likud party, headed by Netanyahu, while showing lesser support for Livni's Kadima party.