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Lapid Sinks, Nationalists Rise in Latest Pre-Election Poll

Nationalist parties would win three more seats in the Knesset, while Lapid’s strength would sink, if elections were held today.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/19/2012, 8:04 AM

Ketzaleh and Hershkowitz in Binyamin
Ketzaleh and Hershkowitz in Binyamin
PR

Nationalist parties would win three more seats in the Knesset, while Yair Lapid’s strength would continue to sink, if elections were held today according to a new poll.

“Time will tell if the figures point to the end of the road for Lapid’s proposed party - that he has not yet launched - but for the time being, there is another steep decline,” said Prof. Avi Dagni, president of the respected Geocartography polling agency.

He added that Lapid harmed himself by keeping relatively silent in the media since the announcement that he is quitting journalism and entering politics last month. His only major speech was a vicious attack last week on the Shas Sephardi religious party, despite his promise not be anti-religious like his father, the late Tomy Lapid.

His entry into politics was warmly received at the time by Israel’s mainstream media, which sees him as a new hope against the rising tide of support for nationalist and religious Knesset Members.

Initial polls showed him receiving as many as 20 seats, almost all of them at the expense of the Kadima party, headed by Tzipi Livni. The latest poll shows that Lapid’s strength now is down to six potential seats in the Knesset, compared with 13 in Prof. Dagni’s poll last month.

On other hand, the National Union, headed by Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, jumped from two to five potential Knesset mandates, while the strength of Jewish Home, headed by Rabbi/Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, rose from three to five.

The combined potential of 10 seats is significantly higher than the current seven. It is generally believed that if the two nationalist parties ran on a joint list, they would get even more.

The poll also shows that the Likud’s strength rose from 33 to 39, whole the other parties were relatively unchanged, except for Yisrael Beiteinu, which received support for only 13 seats compared with 16 last month.

The polls results indicate a migration of voters from party to party, with Kadima apparently winning support from former Lapid enthusiasts while losing strength from its more nationalist members to the Likud. The nationalists’ increased strength may also be at the expense of Yisrael Beiteinu and the Likud.

The results indicate that is elections were held today, the government coalition would be made up of an overwhelming majority of 76 Knesset members with nationalist and/or religious views.