December 6, 2012
Parties take form, but it’s still a right-religious landslide
Today (Thursday) is D-day. It is the last day for Israelis parties to register if they are running in this election cycle. Unlike the U.S., in Israel the voters don’t register in advance. But the parties do, and by tomorrow they will no longer be able to do so. So lists have had to be finalized, candidates have had to make up their minds, deals have had to be cut or scrapped, surprises pulled out of the hat. Today we will finally know who is really running and who isn't. Well, that’s not strictly true: today we will finally know who isn’t running, and who says that they are. New candidates can’t appear after today, but withdrawal is still possible – and in this craziest of election seasons, the possible - and often the impossible - seems to be happening.
Our new Poll Trend tracker – Prof. Camil Fuchs is, as always, the brain behind the numbers - is based on the largest number of polls so far (10 polls) since we began tracking the polls for you. Take a look at the Likud-right-religious bloc and the center-left bloc. The graph is followed by some comments:
Since this week ends the pre-election period of party positioning and maneuvers, the polls of this week are the last ones in which we will still find some “what if” questions. Basically - barring last minute (literally, last minute) surprises - the players are all on the field. As expected, former foreign minister and one-time Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni has formed a new party, Hatnua (the Movement), and joined the race. At the time the polls were taken though, her list of candidates was still being formed (former Labor party leader Amir Peretz dropped the bombshell Thursday morning that will he be at Livni's side). Unlike Livni, ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert carefully weighed his complicated legal situation (and maybe also some internal polls in which he did not find much cause for optimism), and has decided not to run.
One of the polls in this week’s index included a question about the voting intentions of respondents in two scenarios: one with the current parties, and one in which the respondent was asked to assume that Livni’s party would merge with Labor, and that Livni would have second place on the list (after Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich). As actually happened in the case of the actual merger between right-of-center Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, the predicted result of the imaginary left-of-center merger seemed to add no mandates to the bloc. In fact, the sum of the predicted results for the corresponding parties (20 and 9) was higher than the sum for a merged list - 25. Such a number is quite disappointing for the many proponents of a less fractured center-left. But really, is it all a game within the bloc: Livni is stronger alone, when potential voters of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party abandon him to support her; if Livni merges with Labor, they go back to supporting Lapid. In any case, since the merger hasn't materialized (and as you can see, there’s a case to be made that it shouldn’t have happened anyway), we removed that poll from our index.
Thus, what we see on the graph this week is déjà vu of what we saw a week ago and two weeks ago: The Likud-Beiteinu-Right-Religious bloc continues to lead by a landslide of 69 to 51 against the center-left (which includes the Arab parties). The slight slope in the graph does not amount to an increase in the average numbers for the Center-Left bloc by even one mandate in two weeks. Not a good prospect when one is only seven weeks away from Election Day.
About this feature:
The Israel’s Poll Trend feature is your best way of following Israel’s polls and understanding Israel’s political numbers. We regularly post an updated Israel’s Poll Trend page that includes the following:
Some technical notes:
1. We only use polls available to the public, and we attempt to gather all available polls without missing any.
2. The trendline is weekly – namely, it does not change with every poll but rather by week (based on all polls published during the week).
3. As we go along, the mathematical formula with which we draw the trendline should improve, and become more accurate.