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Poll: After Economic Measures, Netanyahu Gets 25 Seats

Likud drops but retains power: New poll finds Netanyahu would win 25 seats in the next elections.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/3/2012, 6:16 AM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The public’s dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would affect his party’s seats if elections were held today, according to a poll published Thursday evening.

Channel 10 News presented the results of the poll, conducted by Haaretz-Dialog, which will be published in the Haaretz newspaper on Friday.

The poll found that in the last month, Netanyahu’s Likud party has lost four seats and would wins 25 seats if elections were held today. Likud would be the Knesset’s largest party, the poll found, but the Labor party headed by Shelly Yechimovich would gain strength and be the second largest with 21 seats. 

The poll also found that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party would retain its current 15 seats, and that Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party would receive 12 seats. Shas would receive 11 seats and Kadima, as previous polls have predicted, would crash and receive only seven seats in the next Knesset.

The Jewish Home and the National Union would share seven seats, the poll found, and the United Torah Judaism party would have six. Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Independence Party also manages to pass the threshold and receives two seats.

Haaretz-Dialog also conducted a poll which found that Netanyahu’s popularity hit a new low this week with 60% of Israelis saying they are not satisfied with his performance. Just 31% said they are satisfied with his decisions as prime minister.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz got even lower ratings, with 67% expressing disapproval of his actions and just 19% saying they are satisfied with his work.

The primary reason for the drop in popularity was the approval of a set of measures aimed at reducing the deficit. The measures include a hike in the VAT and income tax and cuts to the budgets of many ministries.

Channel 10 reported that the poll’s findings are causing Netanyahu to be concerned and that he may be interested in postponing the elections as much as possible, until the agenda changes to a political one and not a social-economic one which strengthens Yechimovich.

Likud officials told Channel 10 that Netanyahu is expected to hold consultations with the leaders of the coalition parties in the coming weeks to see if he will be able to pass a budget for 2013.

If he finds that he will be able to pass the budget, the officials said, Netanyahu is expected to decide to continue the term of his government and wait with elections until the date for which they are scheduled by law, October 2013. However, if the heads of the coalition parties express reservations that could hurt Netanyahu’s chances to pass a budget for next year, he may call early elections for next January or February.