Knesset Jeremy’s Weekly Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls
Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #13 (week of Feb 21-Feb 28 2015) of 12 polls from 7 leading polling companies (3 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 2 Smith, 2 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 1 Geocartography, 1 TRI, 0 Maagar Mochot, Sarid & New Wave)
(Last Week in parentheses), current Knesset seats in [brackets]
1st 23.66 (23.90)  Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)
2nd 23.08 (23.80)  Likud
3rd 12.41 (12.00)  The Joint (Arab) List
4th 12.00 (12.50)  Bayit Yehudi
5th 11.91 (11.10)  Yesh Atid
6th 08.16 (08.10)  Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)
7th 06.91 (07.20)  Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
8th 06.75 (06.60)  Shas
9th 05.66 (05.60)  Yisrael Beitenu
10th 05.00 (05.00)  Meretz
11th 04.41 (04.20)  Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)
67.08 (68.00)  Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)
52.91 (52.00)  Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)
Changes: The Joint (Arab) List passes Bayit Yehudi for third place.
Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 0.8 of a seat; The Joint (Arab) List gained 0.4 of a seat and Yachad gained 0.2.
Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.8 of a seat; Bayit Yehudi dropped 0.5 of a seat and Zionist Union & UTJ lost 0.3 of a seat.
The 3-phase process to the Prime Minister House: Phase 1 – Elections (seats). Phase 2 – President’s Residence (nomination). Phase 3 – Knesset vote (61 MKs needed).
Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 13:
1 – The Debate – Phase 2 & 3 Game-changers.
It is human nature to want to predict the future. The Debate between the eight party leaders representing a majority of Israeli voters, 66.3 seats according to our weekly average, was more focused at times on Phases 2 & 3 than the policy positions that will elect the party leaders in Phase 1. The Israeli public, as well as analysts, are asking themselves who is willing to sit with who (and at what cost) and how the next government will look like.
The Debate gave us a clear picture of what eight of the eleven party leaders are thinking 19 days before the election. Both candidates for Prime Minister, Netanyahu and Herzog, watched the debate from their homes with one question in mind: What are the party leaders thinking about doing in Phases 2 & 3.
There is a huge difference between a political analyst and a poll analyst. You can analyze Phase 1 with math and science. With Phases 2 & 3 – You need to be a prophet to know what will happen because of the many statistical possibilities that are based on the Phase 1 data that has not yet taken place. However, if we choose to believe the politicians and their statements from The Debate, you don’t need to be a prophet to analyze Phases 2 & 3.
Koolanu’s Moshe Kahlon decided to double-down on his Finance Minister strategy. The overall feeling is that the wildcard Kahlon cares more about being Finance Minister than who is Prime Minister. He wasn’t shy about it either, in his closing pitch he asked to be Israel’s next Finance Minister. Overall, Kahlon’s performance was all over the place. He went right when he talked about a united Jerusalem and keeping the Jordan valley, stating his only differences with Netanyahu are on economic and social issues. He also went left by talking about his vision for a Palestinian State if a partner arises, he wouldn’t rule out nominating Herzog in Phase 2 or sitting in a government with Meretz in Phase 3. Kahlon kept name-dropping Former Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s legacy and referring to his previous Likud background with pride. He side-stepped how a Begin-Likud guy could nominate Herzog for Prime Minister. He chose not to address the fact that Herzog already offered the Finance portfolio to someone else and for some reason no one bothered asking him that key question.
Yisrael Beitenu’s Avigdor Liberman took a sharp turn to the right. Herzog would object to a majority of the ‘minimum’ demands and campaign promises that Liberman proposed. He attacked Meretz and repeatedly stressed he wouldn’t sit with them. He also attacked The Joint List’s Iman Udah countless times, going as far as calling him a Fifth Column and a Palestinian rep that should sit in Abbas’s Parliament.
Shas’s Aryeh Deri also went right. He said there is no partner for peace with the Palestinians and rejected Iman Udah’s offer to work together if Udah remains focused on the Palestinian issue. Deri made it clear he will sit with anyone including Eli Yishai, but he won’t sit with Yair Lapid, who refuses to turn the clock back on last term’s legislation. Deri had started out by talking about his old friendship and coffee meetings he used to share with Lapid, by the end of The Debate he was attacking him bitterly. Deri also refused to comment on the content of the tapes of Rav Ovadiah Yosef and instead used it as a way to get into a fight with Eli Yishai over who is the Maran’s true successor.
Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid refused to agree to the possibility of turning the clock back on what is needed to bring Deri, and one would think Litzman, into the next government. Lapid ignored Deri’s olive branches and at one point even suggested to Deri to help rehabilitate him from the time he sat in jail as a convicted felon. Lapid crushed Herzog’s dream of having both of them in the same coalition.
The Joint List’s Iman Udah refused to commit to helping Herzog in Phase 2 or 3. He refused to respond to any of Liberman’s questions including the question if he is Israeli or “Palestinian as he claims to be”. He wouldn’t answer head-on anything that had to do with MK Hanin Zoabi and if he shared those views. He complained about getting the least time to speak and reminded the audience that he is the leader of the third largest party in the polls.
Meretz’s Zahava Gal-On sounded like Naftali Bennett’s spokeswoman when she said that everyone including the Zionist Union wants to join the next Netanyahu government. She also made it clear that she will not sit with Liberman in the same government as a matter of true principle.
We know that the other two party leaders will be backing Prime Minister Netanyahu and it was interesting that Eli Yishai and Naftali Bennett refused to fight each other. Bennett attacked Liberman & Kahlon for their support of a two-state solution. Yishai fought off attacks from Deri on what Rav Ovadiah Yosef would think of his decision to run with outcasts from Bayit Yehudi and Kahanaists
Main takeaway from The Debate: Herzog’s issue of needing to choose between Yisrael Beitenu or Meretz & Yesh Atid or Haredim is very real & crushing to his ability to form a new coalition, even in the scenario where The Joint List can be convinced to join a Herzog-led coalition.
2 – Week 14 Preview: The Speech & Purim
The first part of the week will be overshadowed by “the speech” and the second part of the week will be overshadowed by celebrations surrounding the Jewish holiday of Purim and Shushan Purim in selected cities.
For more analysis on the ‘Poll of Polls’ you can catch my weekly radio interview on Sundays with Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel.com