Israelis dissatisfied with leaders, 40% may opt out of national ballot

debkafile reports exclusively: The figures from the unpublished polls commissioned privately by leaders of the three main parties showed on average a lower figure for Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud than previously rated in the Feb. 10 general election; Tzipi Livni’s Kadima’s in decline, and unexpected gains for Barak’s Labor’s and right-wing Israel Beiteni.
At the same time, 35-40% of the voters sampled were unhappy with all the party leaders on offer as future prime ministers and at this point say they will opt out of balloting.
This high abstention rate skews the previous polls’ estimates.
The results of the unpublished poll are as follows:
The opposition right-of-center Likud: (previously 32 (of 120) Knesset seats) is downgraded to 25-28.
The rulingKadima:24 seats is revised down to 13-15.
This sampling was taken before the Kadima primary of Wednesday, Dec. 17, which confirmed most incumbent office-holders, kept new faces to less realistic slots and by and large followed Livni’s wishes. The primary is therefore unlikely to bring out more support.
Labor: Up from 8-10 to 15-17. The survey found Labor’s Barak rated as the best of a bad lot compared with Netanyahu and Livni.
In the meantime, Palestinian missiles exploded in Sderot’s downtown Wednesday night, raising a fresh wave of protests against Barak as the most determinedly passive military leader in Israel’s history.
Interestingly, much of the fallout from these three mainstream parties appears to benefit the medium-tier parties.
The hawkish Israel Beitenu led by former Russian Avigdor Lieberman stands to gain another two or three mandates – up to 12-14, while the new amalgamation of the largely religious Zionist moderates The Jewish Home may expect 8-10 seats.
The three Arab parties also stand to profit from a merger: If Balad finally joins forces with the southern wing of the Islamic Movement, it could go up from 10 to 12 Knesset seats for the first time.

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