Published On: Wed, Mar 11th, 2015

With 6 Days to Go, Latest Poll Shows Herzog Running Away from Netanyahu

But while the sheer numbers project a wider support for Herzog-Livni, when the same participants were asked who was a better fit to serve as prime minister, they gave a resounding nod to Netanyahu — 49-36.

Netanyahu - Herzog

One week before the parliamentary elections in Israel, a poll done by Channel 2 News shows the Zionist Camp (Labor) increasing the gap with Likud. The Joint Arab List and Jewish Home have 13 seats each, Yair lapid’s Yesh Atid with 12, Kulanu, with the popular former Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon with 8, Sephardi Haredi party Shas with 7, Lieberman and United Torah Judaism 6 each, far-left Meretz with 5 and the other Sephardi Haredi Eli Yishai with 4.

The poll, tapping 1, 003 people, with a +-3% margin of error, gives Itzhak Herzog and his co-leader Tzipi Livni their first significant advantage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But while the sheer numbers project a wider support for Herzog-Livni, when the same participants were asked who was a better fit to serve as prime minister, they gave a resounding nod to Netanyahu — 49-36.

This apparent contradiction illustrates Labor’s uphill battle to lead Israel’s next coalition government, because when you count the poll’s votes in terms of a right-wing versus left-wing contest, Netanyahu is still more likely to be the next prime minister.

Israel’s electoral system directs the president to meet with each party that had made it into the Knesset, and poll them as to their chosen candidate to cobble a coalition.

The three party clusters, left, right and center, have scored in the Channel 2 poll as follows:

Left: Labor, Meretz, Arabs — 43

Right: Likud, Jewish Home, Shas, Lieberman, Eli Yishai, Torah Judaism — 57

Center: Lapid, Kahlon — 20

Netanyahu’s path to the magic number of 60, blocking the other side, or 61, getting the president’s nod to put together his coalition, is simple: find a way to pay off everybody on the right, then turn to Kahlon at the center, offer him the one office he desires, Treasury, and he got himself a government.

Herzog’s path is much more complex. For one thing, the new united Arab party is partly anti-Zionist, meaning it will not look for a government seat in return for its support. It will most likely prefer to stay as a supporting party outside government. They’ll vote their confidence in Herzog at the start of his term, but any move on his part that turns them off could mean the end of his parliamentary approval.

Without the Arabs, then, Herzog would have to rely on Lapid, Kahlon and the Haredi parties — but they would never sit in a government with their arch-enemy Lapid.

Also, Kahlon declared that he does not plan to serve in a Labor government.

The only way Herzog can win is if he receives 30 seats or more, which would mean a serious national mandate. Short of that, despite his numeric advantage, he may be destined to spend a few more years on the opposition benches.

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