Saturday, January 26, 2019

How to Track the Israeli Election

This election in Israel may not see a watershed change from right to left, but it is a dynamic and interesting process.  Part of the fun for election watchers are the polls.

Israel, while a small nation, is one of the most engaged democracies in the world.  According to pew research dot org, it has the fourth highest voter turnout by percentage of any voluntary voting system in the world, behind only Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and the Netherlands. The current election sees multiple "new" parties, and seeming death throes of some historic parties.  PM Netanyahu's Likud party looks to be a behemoth once again, and is polling to gain one or two seats in the new Knesset.

While we normally don't use Wikipedia for research, there is a site that is regularly updating the polls which you may find interesting.  The chart is organized with the current seat allocation first in a gray row, then the most recent poll next and the earlier polls in descending order.  The far right column has a box that shows how many seats would be won according to the poll by the current coalition parties.  That is to say, if the same people in Netanyahu's government again formed the same government in the new Knesset.

The main new player is Hosen Yisrael, Benny Ganz's new party.  It continues to poll as second to Netanyahu so if Neyanyahu for some reason does not form a majority, it would fall on Ganz to organize the government.  That is, as I say HIGHLY unlikely, but fun to think about.  For example, according to the Jan 24 Direct Pulse Poll, what would happen if Ganz tried for form a left wing government:

Hosen Yisrael:  15
Gesher: 5
Meretz: 6
Kulanu: 4
Yesh Atid: 11
Labor:  9

That is only 52 seats.... 9 more seats would be needed, even if those parties could get along (which they can't).

Yisrael Beiteinu (5) and The Jewish Home (4) would be 9, if they survive, and were willing to join the party, but how they would get along with Meretz would be a mystery. Shas has 5 seats projected and have shown that they are willing to join a left coalition in the past, but would Meretz remain?  The hard truth is that those 12 seats going to the Joint List (6) and Taal (6) Arab parties will need to be a part of any left leaning government in the foreseeable future.   Can Israel imagine it?  Not yet.  But the math says that the day is coming.

Here is the link for the Wikipedia page with the polls.  Enjoy.


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