Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 6 Poll shows Netanyahu in narrow position to lead again.

With 92% of the Israeli electorate telling polls that they are probably or definitely decided on who they will vote for on March 17, the picture is looking more clear:

My guess:  Netanyahu will lead the next government with Likud (21), Yesh Atid (15), Bayit Yehudi (12), Israel Beiteinu (5), Kulanu (9) for a narrow majority of 62 seats.  

Shas, UTJ and Yachad will be on the outside looking in.  The Zionist Union and Meretz remain the main parties in opposition.

There are 4 "camps" in general:

1) Any "left" leaning coalition under Herzog/Livni will include Zionist Union, Yesh Atid and Meretz.  That's 44 seats.

2) Any "right" leaning coalition under Netanyahu will include Likud, Bayit Yehudi, and Israel Beitenu. That's 38 seats.

3) The "Religious" Parties include Shas, UTJ, and Yachad. That's 17 seats.

4) The united Arab list has 13 seats.

...And the wild card is Kulanu, here with 8 seats. (rounded down to make the 120 total seats work).

The "left" and the "religious" will not form a government, due to ideological differences.  Meretz and Netanyahu will never join together.  That leaves a few possible scenarios:

A)  A left-leaning coalition [59 + ??]:  Herzog/Livni Core (44) + half the Arab list (7) + Kulanu (8) = only 59.  You need 61.  Either a government dependent upon the united Arab list would form, or this coalition doesn't work unless the 8% undecided voters all go to the left in the last week of the campaign. Coalitions have not been dependent upon Arab votes in the past, and that would be a remarkable development.

B)  A right-leaning + religious coalition [63]:  Netanyahu Core (38) + Religious (17) + Kulanu (8) = 63. Serious concessions would need to be given the the religious parties, and the government would depend upon the settlement bloc's participation.

C) A centrist government under Netanyahu, without Herzog/Livni [60+ ??]: Netanyahu Core (38) + Yesh Atid (14) + Kulanu (8) = 60.  You need 61.  If Yesh Atid and Kulanu each gets an extra seat from the poll's undecided voters, it could work, but it would hang by a thread. This is what I predict will happen.

D) A broad "Unity" government under Netanyahu, with Herzog/Livni [84]: Netanyahu Core (38), Zionist Union (24), Yesh Atid (14), Kulanu (8) = 84 and a supermajority.  Given the Herzog/Livni "anti-Netanyahu" stance, this is unlikely.

E) A "Centrist" government is theoretically possible of course [62]: the Netanyahu/Herzog/Livni groups together add up to (62) in this poll, but that is also unlikely.

Among the "undecided" voters, nearly all of them are leaning to one of three parties:  Kulanu, Yesh Atid, and Bayit Yehudi.  Undecided "Yesh Atid" Voters split between Kulanu and the Zionist Union.  Therefore the likely "advantage" is to the center/right gaining a few seats at the last minute.

.... So, the most likely scenarios have Netanyahu forming a government, either pulling Yesh Atid to the right, or working with the religious parties in lock-step.

Here is the March 6 polling result.  Polls cease in Israel several days prior to the election, so this may be the last word:

Panels conducted a poll of 1027 people with a 3% margin of error that was taken out for Knesset Channel and released on March 10 2015.
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
24 [20] Zionist Union (Labor-Livni)
21 [18] Likud
14 [20] Yesh Atid
13 [11] The Joint (Arab) List
12 [11] Bayit Yehudi
09 [02] Kulanu (Kahlon+Kadima)
07 [10] Shas
06 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
05 [13] Yisrael Beitenu
05 [06] Meretz
04 [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)
00 [00] Green Leaf 1.2% under 3.25% threshold
00 [00] Ten other parties poled under 1%, four others were not polled
64 [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating Netanyahu in Phase 2)
56 [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating Netanyahu in Phase 2)

Among voters that are still undecided on their vote, who are you leaning towards if not the party you selected?
Likud voters- Bayit Yehudi 13%, Kulanu 13%
Yesh Atid voters – Zionist Union 38%, Kulanu 12%
Zionist Union voters – Yesh Atid 47%, Merertz 20%
Bayit Yehudi voters – Likud 33%, Kulanu 26%
Kulanu voters – Bayit Yehudi 28%, Yesh Atid 25%
Yachad voters – Bayit Yehudi 38%, Shas 38%
Yisrael Beitenu voters – Bayit Yehudi 33%
Shas voters – 30% Kulanu
Meretz voters – Zionist Union 88%
source:  http://knessetjeremy.com/


  1. The coalition I predicted was, in fact, elected, but with a stronger showing than I thought would occur. Netanyahu has the choice of excluding one or more of the smallest right wing parties without having to invite in the left.

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