Knesset Jeremy’s Weekly Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #12 (week of Feb 15-Feb 20 2015) of 10 polls from 8 leading polling companies (2 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 1 Smith, 1 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 1 Maagar Mochot, 1 Geocartography, 1  TRI,  0 Sarid & New Wave)

(Last Week in brackets), current Knesset seats in [brackets]

1st 23.9 (23.2) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

2nd 23.8 (24.4) [18] Likud

3rd 12.5 (12.4) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 12.0 (12.4) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

5th 11.1 (10.1) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 08.1 (08.0) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 07.2 (07.0) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 06.6 (06.8) [10] Shas

9th 05.6 (05.8) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.0 (05.1) [06] Meretz

11th 04.2 (04.4) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

68.0 (69.0) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

52.0 (51.0) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

Changes: Zionist Union passes Likud to be the largest list & Bayit Yehudi breaks the third place tie with The Joint (Arab) List dropping back down to fourth place.

Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 1 seat; Zionist Union gained 0.7 of a seat and UTJ gained 0.2.

Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.6 of a seat; The Joint (Arab) List dropped 0.4 of a seat & three parties (Shas, Yisrael Beitenu & Yachad) lost 0.2 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 12:

1 – 23 days Left – Netanyahu vs Herzog: Zionist Union 23.9, Likud 23.8

For most of the election campaign the Zionist Union has averaged as the largest list. The Zionist Union led for four straight weeks, from Week 2 until Week 5, and after a week break led again for another three weeks straight, from Week 6 to Week 9. Herzog realized it was time for a change after Likud had their first back-to-back weeks at the top (Weeks 10 & 11). In comes Reuven Adler and suddenly Livni is taking a back seat. That will be a storyline to follow as we get closer. If the rumors are true and Adler is trying to push Livni to give up on her rotation agreement – Things could get a lot more interesting.

So far Likud circles agree that they got off lightly from the State Comptroller Report. The report is expected to still get a lot of play in the media cycle this coming week and it is possible it could do some damage as other parties help keep the report in the headlines.

The head-to-head match-up for largest list is most likely going down to the wire, with just 0.1 seats separating the largest two lists. As for the much talked about ‘national unity government’ scenario, at a combined 47.7 seats, Likud & Zionist Union would need to invite additional parties to create a national unity government.

2 – The Players: Bayit Yehudi 12.5, The Joint (Arab) List 12, Yesh Atid 11.1

Bayit Yehudi has had a lousy month. They started the week with an average of 11.5 in the first four polls, with some results having the party dip as low as 5th place. Something changed mid-week and Bayit Yehudi finished with an average of 13.16 in the last six polls of the week. Some of the votes are coming from Likud but others are actually coming from Yisrael Beitenu. Yisrael Beitenu averaged 6.25 in the first four polls of the week and 5.16 in the six polls released later in the week.

The Joint (Arab) List has four party leaders and each party leader has a different answer to the question of what the list is planning to do in Phase 2 & Phase 3. One thing that is certain is that none of them will be backing Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is very possible that the four party leaders give different answers to President Rivlin during Phase 2. This will be an interesting dilemma for President Rivlin. The law says it is the leader of the list, not the leader of each party who makes the decision on nomination in Phase 2. If President Rivlin goes strictly according to the law it is the new Hadash leader who would get to make the decision for all of the other party leaders and remarks by both MKs Zachalka (Balad) and Tibi (Ta’al) would be irrelevant. The Joint List can decide to split their vote in Phase 3, but for now a majority of the candidates on The Joint List rule out the option of even considering voting for a Zionist government in Phase 3.

Yesh Atid had a good week. They started with an average of 10 seats in the first three polls of the week and jumped to 11.5 seats in the final seven. Overall they gained the most ground of the 11 lists expected to pass the threshold this week. It is most likely that Lapid is benefiting from the other party leaders mistakes because nothing major happened during the Yesh Atid campaign this week that would explain Lapid gaining a full seat. It appears that many of the undecided voters are answering Yesh Atid this week and Yair Lapid is going to do what he can to keep them locked down.

3 – The Third-Tier: Koolanu 8.1, UTJ 7.2, Shas 6.6

Kahlon expected to be higher in the polls with three weeks and change to go. He knows that his party has the promise to be the breakout party of this election. He still has some time but Koolanu is polling lower than Yesh Atid did at Week 12 during the previous cycle. Kahlon will need to shake things up to get out of the third-tier.

UTJ’s decision to open their main campaign headquarters in Petah Tikva shows a great deal about their plans for extending their voter base.  Petah Tikva, the city that finished in fifth place in votes cast two-years ago, is a former National Religious Party stronghold and UTJ received 4% of the Petah Tikva vote in 2013.

The last time Deri led Shas into an election they received 17 seats in 1999. Yishai led the party to 11 seats in 2003, 12 in 2006 and 11 seats in 2009. The joint-leadership ticket of Yishai-Deri-Attias repeated 11 seats in 2013. Deri understands he won’t repeat his 1999 achievement with Attias in retirement and Yishai running with his own list. Despite knocking off a few more Shas MKs from the current list (Zeev, Amnon Cohen & Edri), Deri will need 8 seats for all the remaining Shas MKs to retain their positions.

4- Fighting the Threshold: Yisrael Beitenu 5.6, Meretz 5, Yachad 4.2

After nine years (2006-2015) as a party with double-digits MKs, between 11 and 15 depending on the election, Foreign Minister Liberman is polling within two-seats of the new 3.25% threshold that he created. Yisrael Beitenu is currently in position to be remembered as the biggest loser of the election. It would take a dramatic change to prevent Yisrael Beitenu from dropping from their current 13 seats to become a single-digit party. When his bill passed less than a year ago Yisrael Beitenu had five ministers, in the next government Liberman might be stuck with just two. Following Lapid and Livni’s firing there were rumors in the Knesset that Shas & UTJ would agree to join Netanyahu to create a narrow 61-MK majority coalition and it was Liberman who preferred elections over the Haredim in the government. If those rumors are true, one has to wonder if Liberman regrets that decision.

Meretz has been dropping every week, slowly but surely. The last time Meretz didn’t drop was back in Week 5 when they retained their 6.5 seats from Week 4.Meretz’s high was 6.8 seats which they received back during Week 1. In some circles there are analysts who are wondering if Meretz, now averaging at 5 seats, will pass the threshold.

This is the second straight week where Yachad passed the electoral threshold in all of the week’s polls. Many expect this trend to continue as additional disgruntled Sephardi Rabbis jump ship from Shas to Yachad. The biggest Sephardic Rabbi pickup of this week was Rabbi Yoram Abergel. On the other side of their electoral spectrum, Yachad took a slight hit in their battle for Chardal (a mix of ultra-orthodox-national religious) voters when Rabbi Zalman Melamed decided to endorse Bayit Yehudi. Rabbi Melamed’s influential student and former MK & National Union Leader Yaakov Katzeleh Katz also endorsed Bayit Yehudi last week. Yachad is pushing the endorsement of influential Chardal Rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, as their answer to Rabbi Melamed’s endorsement of Bayit Yehudi. Baruch Marzel returns to the list at #4 following the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Central Elections Committee decision to disqualify him. Zoabi’s disqualification was also overturned and she returns to The Joint List.

5 – Week 13 Preview

We have three more installments of the Poll of Polls left and things are heating up. We had eight of the top ten polling companies conducting at least one poll this week. Expect more polls throughout this coming week. This will be the last full week of polling for parties to test ideas ahead of the launch of television ads on March 3.

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

Advertisements