Poll: Labor, Meretz, Habayit Hayehudi gaining ground
Dahaf survey published 11 days before elections shows Likud-Beiteinu list unable to regain lost Knesset seats, but remains largest faction by wide margin; Meretz rises from four to six seats; Left-Center bloc against Netanyahu set to win 56 seats; Shas, Livni lose ground
A new poll published 11 days before the general elections, indicates that the rightist bloc's lead has narrowed slightly.
The survey, carried out by the Dahaf Institute, predicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu ticket will secure 33 Knesset seats, down from 37 in last month's polling. There are forty-two Likud-Beiteinu members in the current Knesset, and the survey predicts it will be the largest faction, by a wide margin, in the next coalition.
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However, the ruling party's main rivals from the Right and Left are gaining strength. The Dahaf poll shows Shelly Yachimovich's Labor Party winning 18 seats, up from 17 in last month's polling.
Labor is the largest party in the Left-Center bloc. Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid faction, which is also part of the bloc, is expected to win 11 seats, while Tzipi Livni's Hatnua lost three Knesset seats from a previous poll and would also win 11 seats if elections were held today. Yachimovich, Lapid and Livni's recent effort to form a united bloc against the Right failed.
According to the poll, Shaul Mofaz's Kadima party will win two Knesset seats. The leftist Meretz party rises to six seats, up from four in the last poll. The survey indicates that the Left-Center bloc will win a total of 45 Knesset seats in the January 22 elections, only four less than the rightist bloc. With the addition of the Arab parties (four mandates for Hadash and United Arab List-Ta'al; three for Balad), the Center-Left bloc against Netanyahu will win 56 seats, the poll predicts.
On the right side of the political spectrum, hard-liner Naftali Bennett's party continues to gain strength. According to the poll, Habayit Hayehudi will win 14 seats. Otzma LeYisrael, the most extreme rightist party in the current elections, will pass the threshold and receive two seats, according to the survey.
The Dahaf poll indicates that the ultra-Orthodox parties are weakening. Both Shas and United Torah Judaism are down one Knesset seat from the previous poll and are expected to win 10 and five Knesset seats, respectively. Rabbi Haim Amsalem's Am Shalem will not pass the electoral threshold of 2%.
The poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, sampled 1,000 people.