The Kadima party has hit a new peak in popularity, and is set to win 44 mandates in the upcoming elections, according to a poll by Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading newspaper, and the Dahaf Institute.
The poll shows a strengthening of Kadima's position from last week's survey.
Labor has remained in the same place with 21 mandates, while the Likud gained strength and is currently on 13 projected mandates. Shas is on 9 mandates.
The poll showed that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima leader Ehud Olmert were equally popular among young people, while Labor Chairman Amir Peretz trailed far behind among this segment of the population.
Arab parties were positioned behind Shas with a total of eight mandates, followed by United Torah Judaism, with six mandates. Meretz is also on six mandates (a weakening in standing from last week), while Yisrael Beitenu (Israel our home) also lost standing, is currently on five mandates, as is the National Union.
The National Religious Party is trailing behind with three mandates.
Shinui in the wilderness
Shinui has so far been unable to gain enough projected mandates to pass the minimum required to qualify for the Knesset.
The poll asked respondents which politician would pursue the best polices. Some 27 percent of voters chose Olmert, 22 percent backed Peres, and only ten percent agreed with the views of Netanyahu.
The Likud chairman is continuing to pay the political price for his economic policy. No less than 41 percent of respondents have blamed him for the results of the poverty report, released last week.
Previous Israeli governments received a more forgiving treatment, with only 38 percent of the public accusing them of responsibility for the poverty figures.
Only five percent blamed the current Finance Minister Ehud Olmert for the report, and 9 percent said that the poor were themselves to blame.
Would you be willing to give up on part of your salary to help the poor? 46 percent of respondents were willing to do so, while 53 percent were not.
Despite Netanyahu's poll showings, a sample of youth opinion found that the Likud chairman was popular among young Israelis.
Some 34 percent of people between the ages of 18 – 25 preferred Netanyahu as prime minister, a similar percentage of backing won by Ehud Olmert. Peretz on the other hand was backed only by 11 percent of young people.