Likud Gains Strength in Latest Voter Poll

If elections were held today, Likud would receive 35 Knesset seats, according to a new poll. A center-right-religious coalition could have 70 MKs.

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A new poll shows Likud with a commanding lead, as the political arena is headed with increasing certainty towards elections. The Haaretz-Dialogue poll asked voters which party they would vote for if elections were held today. It shows Likud with 35 Knesset seats, compared with 29 in an April poll and 12 in the current Knesset. However, pollster Prof. Camille Fuchs noted that the Likud had reached 35 seats in previous polls, and that its relatively low April figure was the result of news reports about Binyamin Netanyahu's less-than-frugal accommodations and entertainment spending on a trip to London during the Second Lebanon War.

The poll shows Labor with 19 potential MKs (the same as in the current Knesset); Kadima with just 13 MKs (compared with 29 in the current Knesset, and down from 15 in April). Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) would receive 11 MKs, the same as in the current Knesset, and Shas would get 11 MKs, one less than in today's Knesset.

NU/NRP Drops
UTJ and Meretz keep their current power with 6 and 5 MKs respectively. National Union/National Religious Party drops precipitously from 9 to 5 MKs and the Pensioners retire from the Knesset, with no seats
If the result of the elections approximates the poll's result, this would probably lead to the establishment of a coalition led by Likud.
forecast. Gaydamak's party receives 2 seats (down from 4 in April's poll) and the Green party gets two seats as well. The Arab lists retain their overall power, with a total of 11 seats compared to 10 in the current Knesset.

If the result of the elections approximates the poll's result, this would probably lead to the establishment of a coalition led by Likud, with Kadima, or at least some of its more hawkish members, as well as Shas, Israel Our Home and NU/NRP. This would total up to about 70 MKs and would give Netanyahu's coalition a solid base.

Security over peace
The poll also asked voters which party they would vote for if Netanyahu headed the Likud, Tzipi Livni headed Kadima and Ehud Barak headed Labor. The numbers changed: Likud received only 29 MKs, Kadima shot up to 23 and Labor dropped to 15. Still, the findings were completely out of line with a Yediot Acharonot poll earlier this month which showed Kadima with 27 seats and Likud with just 23 seats in a similar scenario.

When asked what should be the most important subject on the next government's agenda, 47% of the public chose "national security and fighting terrorism." 25% picked "advancement of peace with the Palestinians and Syrians" and 18% chose the economy.

When asked what trait is the most important for a candidate for Prime Minister, 40% answered "not corrupt," 23% said "cares about the country's security" and 19% chose "advances peace."



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