Surprise: Shas, UTJ Are More Popular Among Women

Poll shows that women are more concerned than men about security and diplomacy, and more likely to vote Likud.

Gil Ronen ,

UTJ MKs and candidates
UTJ MKs and candidates

A poll conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute for Israel's largest women's group, Naamat, indicates that contrary to popular perception, women are more concerned than men about matters of security and diplomacy.

The findings were reported Sunday by Channel 2's news website, which does not provide a detailed breakdown of the questions and results. The poll was conducted among 1,000 men and women, both Jewish and Arab.

More women than men said that they intend to vote Likud. The Herzog-Livni union (The Zionist Camp) came in second.

For men, however, social and economic were more important, and more said they would vote for Chaim Herzog and Tzipi Livni than for Likud, which came in second among the men.

Perhaps even more suprisingly, more women than men said that they intend to vote for haredi parties Shas and UTJ, which do not include women at all. Asked if the fact that a party includes a large precentage of female candidates would make them more likely to vote for it – 61% answered in the negative, and 29% said “yes.”

When asked if they would support a party whose platform includes issues that are important to women, however – 53% said that this would increase the chance that they would support the party, while 41% said it would not. In the context of “women's issues,” 15% said the party that best represents them is the Labor-Livni union, 14% answered Meretz, 9% said Yesh Atid and 7% each said Likud and Jewish Home.

Asked which so-called “women's issues” issues were most important to them, 61% chose the so-called “wage gap,” 39% chose government subsidies for day care centers, 36% pointed to synchronization of vacations in the educational system and vacations at the workplace.

About 60% of women support forcing parties to reserve seats for women, while one third oppose this.

Asked which politicians would best further women's issues – 24% chose Livni, and 17% chose Herzog. Moshe Kahlon and Yair Lapid scored 16% each. Naftali Bennett received 12% and Binyamin Netanyahu only 8%.

Asked about the possibility of electing a female prime minister, 60% of women and 60% of men said that a woman can lead like a man can. Forty-two percent said that if a woman were elected prime minister, the situation in Israel would not change, while 27% said the situation would be better and 17% said it would be worse.

Naamat chairwoman Galia Wolloch noted that the next Knesset will apparently hold a record number of female parliamentarians.

The poll was conducted in honor of International Women's Day, a former Soviet holiday that is marked in Israel and formerly communist countries.

In the 2009 elections, polls indicated that Tzipi Livni received a large proportion of her support from women. In the election that followed, much of this support went to MK Shelly Yechimovich and the Labor party that she headed. The current results may indicate a degree of fatigue among women with gender-based politics, and a return to the more traditional political agenda.