Netanyahu rides Shalit wave, Livni sinks

Likud has jumped to 33 Knesset seats, while Kadima is cut to 17, in the latest "Globes"-Smith poll.

There is no doubt that the results of the latest poll by the Smith Institute for "Globes" indicate a honeymoon for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The month, which began with his speech to the UN to frustrate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's attempt to gain UN recognition for a Palestinian state, peaked with the return of Gilad Shalit. Netanyahu is seeing his broadest public support since the elections: were elections held today, the Likud would win 33 seats.

Likud voters are even more pleased with Netanyahu: nearly 80% of them who voted Likud in 2009 would do so again. The right wing-haredi (ultra-orthodox) bloc has reached a peak of 70 Knesset seats.

Netanyahu can definitely enjoy the polls, but he should remember President Shimon Peres' remark that polls are like perfume: good to smell, but not to drink. As time passes, the Shalit effect will wane, and Netanyahu is liable to weaken.

The Shalit effect widened the gap between the coalition and leader of the opposition, Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni. Kadima's loss of support, which began with the start of the summer's social protest, is continuing, and the party is down to 17 Knesset seats, were elections held today.

After Livni failed to exploit the protest's momentum to win support, her remarks about the Shalit prisoner exchange worsened her standing in the polls. Her infuriating remarks about the media coverage of Shalit's return as a reality show apparently hit Israelis in a sensitive spot. We have not even mentioned MK Shaul Mofaz who is breathing down her neck.

The public prefers to support the Shalit deal. The poll clearly shows that it remembers only the short-term profit side of the deal, and that it is avoiding an examination of its negative consequences. Anyone who argues, as did Livni and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, who honestly expressed his position, that there is long-term danger in the deal, loses Knesset seats.

In contrast, Labor's new chairwoman MK Shelly Yacimovich, who supported the Shalit deal from the opposition benches, saw an immediate gain. Labor would win 20 Knesset were elections held today, becoming the second largest party in the house.

Netanyahu and the Likud are reaping a dividend from nurturing Yacimovich. Likud's support for her has brought results - she is hitting Kadima and strengthening at its expense.

Which party would you vote for were elections held today?

Figures in brackets are numbers of seats won at the last election.

  • Kadima: 17 Knesset seats, down from 25 in August. (28)
  • Likud: 33 seats, up from 26 in August. (27)
  • Israel Beitenu: 14 seats, down from 15 in August. (15)
  • Labor: 20 seats, up from 11 in August. (13)
  • Shas: 10 seats, down from 12 in August. (11)
  • United Torah Judaism: 6 seats, unchanged. (5)
  • National Union: 4 seats, down from 5 in August. (4)
  • Habayit Hayehudi: 3 seats, unchanged. (3)
  • Meretz: 3 seats, down from 4 in August. (3)
  • Arab parties: 10 seats, down from 11 in August.(11)
  • Green Party 0, down from 2 in August. (-)

The survey was carried out among a representative sample of 500 people.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 27, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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