Tag Archive: midgam


Midgam conducted a poll that was taken out for Channel 2 and was released on Feb 24 2015.

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

24 [20] Zionist Union (Labor-Livni)
22 [18] Likud
12 [20] Yesh Atid
12 [11] Bayit Yehudi
12 [11] The Joint (Arab) List
07 [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)
07 [10] Shas
07 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [13] Yisrael Beitenu
06 [06] Meretz
05 [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

66 [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating Netanyahu in Phase 2)
54 [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating Netanyahu in Phase 2)

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

Midgam conducted a poll of 700 people with an error rate of 3.6% that was taken out for Channel 2 and was released on Feb 16 2015.

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
25 [20] Zionist Union (Labor-Livni)
24 [18] Likud
12 [11] The Joint (Arab) List
11 [20] Yesh Atid
11 [11] Bayit Yehudi
07 [13] Yisrael Beitenu
07 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
07 [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)
06 [10] Shas
05 [06] Meretz
05 [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

67 [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a BB coalition)
53 [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a BB coalition)

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #11 (week of Feb 8-Feb 14 2015) of 7 polls from 4 leading polling companies (2 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 2 Smith, 1 Dialog, 0 Midgam, Maagar Mochot, Geocartography, Sarid, TRI, New Wave)

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

1st 24.4 (25.3) [18] Likud

2nd 23.2 (23.6) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

3rd 12.4 (13.0) [11] Bayit Yehudi

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

5th 10.1 (10.4) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 08.0 (07.5) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

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

8th 06.8 (06.5) [10] Shas

9th 05.8 (05.4) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.1 (05.2) [06] Meretz

11th 04.4 (03.8) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

69.0 (68.6) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

51.0 (51.3) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

*Note #1: Marzel & Zoabi are currently disqualified but Supreme Court has yet to have final say.

* Note #2: Results including the two polling companies that released their first polls of the election cycle and are not expected to carry out additional polls (Times of Israel’s 202 Strategies and Sekernet): Likud 24.4, Zionist Union23.6, Bayit Yehudi 12.1, The Joint (Arab) List 12.1, Yesh Atid 10.1, Koolanu 8.3, UTJ 7.1, Shas 6.5, Yisrael Beitenu 6.0, Meretz 5.0, Yachad 4.5. There is no change in placement compared to the regular poll of poll results and no party has a change of more than 0.4 of a seat on the average.

Changes: The Joint (Arab) List has tied Bayit Yehudi as the third largest party.

Largest Gains: Yachad gained 0.6 of a seat; Koolanu gained 0.5 of a seat and both The Joint (Arab) List and Yisrael Beitenu gained 0.4.

Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.9 of a seat; Bayit Yehudi dropped 0.6 of a seat & Zionist Union lost 0.4 of a seat.

Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 11:

1 – President Rivlin sets the ground rules for Phase 2: Race goes from a head-to-head war to a bloc war

Last week we discussed 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).

Most analysts have been focusing on Phase 2 because President Rivlin chose to not be so clear on how he will conduct that process. Rivlin’s decision this week to announce he plans to pressure all parties to choose a preference turns the election from a head-to-head war to a bloc war.

Previously the thought process was that parties such as Koolanu, Yisrael Beitenu, UTJ and Shas could get away by saying they prefer a national unity government or say they do not have a preference between Netanyahu and Herzog. Rivlin’s insistence to force an answer out of each party leader will reduce the wiggle room each of these parties has.

Only six (Likud-Bayit Yehudi-Yachad vs Zionist Union-Yesh Atid-Meretz) of the eleven lists that are expected to be elected to the next Knesset have made their positions on Phase 2 clear, with a seventh (Joint Arab List) making it clear they will never nominate or vote for a Netanyahu government. Of course parties such as Yesh Atid have implied their Phase 2 preference does not necessarily indicate what their Phase 3 plans. Rivlin’s move is meant to force the other parties to announce their Phase 2 plans before the election. The move could also convince parties that have made commitments on Phase 2, but are non-committal about Phase 3, to announce their intentions before the election as well.

Both Likud and the Zionist Union are frustrated by this announcement because the head-to-head argument was helping the two largest lists in the polls during the last few weeks. Rivlin’s move could help parties that are polling close to the electoral threshold such as Meretz and Yisrael Beitenu stay afloat.

Fans of the two-party system shouldn’t blame President Rivlin for making this call because it is the Israeli public that is choosing to make this a bloc war. The two largest lists running in this election have failed in every poll to reach half of the seats together. A national unity government of the two largest parties would still require other parties to reach 61 MKs. Simply, a majority of Israelis are choosing the other nine.

2 – What would it take for Herzog to become Prime Minister?

If Herzog wins 23 seats in Phase 1, as he did in the average of this week’s polls, what would it take for him to reach the Prime Minister office?

One possible scenario:

In Phase 2, Herzog would need to receive the backing of enough party leaders to prove to Rivlin that he is capable of reaching 61 MKs to approve his government in Phase 3. To start off Herzog figures out a way to convince his future coalition partners why he is keeping the top three senior portfolios (Foreign Minister Livni, Finance Minister Trajtenberg and Defense Yadliin) or alternatively Herzog dumps some or all of the people he had campaigned with. Herzog starts with his natural partner. Meretz’s 5 seats will quickly bring Herzog from 23 to 28. Yair Lapid, who makes it harder to bring in the Haredim and the Arabs, joins a Herzog coalition and convinces Herzog to either dump Trajtenberg as Finance Minister or perhaps accepts a lower level portfolio. Yesh Atid brings Herzog up to 38. Herzog turns to Kahlon, who almost ran on a joint list with Likud, and offers Koolanu either the Finance portfolio that Herzog didn’t give Trajtenberg or Lapid, or perhaps a lower level portfolio.

At 46, Herzog makes a play to get a commitment from the Arabs. The Joint (Arab) List forgives the Zionist Union for voting to disqualify MK Zoabi from running in the election, ignore past commitments not to enter a Zionist coalition, and raises Herzog’s numbers to 58. Herzog, with a commitment from Zionist Union-Meretz-Joint Arab List-Yesh Atid-Koolanu for 58 seats has two options. Herzog either convinces Liberman to take a big demotion and sit with Meretz (and perhaps the Joint Arab List) in a left-wing government or Herzog tries to convince Shas and/or UTJ to sit with Lapid. The Hardim find some way to agree to sit with Lapid and not rollback the Haredi Draft Law, with some sort of increase Haredi institution funding. Or perhaps Lapid allows the Haredi Draft Law to be repealed for the sake of replacing Netanyahu. The Joint Arab List who helped Herzog in Phase 2 disappear in Phase 3, but it doesn’t matter because by this point you have a stable coalition of Zionist Union-Meretz-Yesh Atid-Koolanu-Yisrael Beitenu-Shas-UTJ.

Following this unusual Phase 2 arrangement, this potential Herzog government would now require 61 MKs to approve such a coalition in Phase 3, without any rebel MKs from any of the factions voting against such a union. Of course MKs such as Zoabi & Trajtenberg would vote for such an arrangement.

3 – What would it take for Netanyahu to become Prime Minister?

If Netanyahu wins 24 seats in Phase 1, as he did in the average of this week’s polls, what would it take for him to reach the Prime Minister office?

One possible scenario:

Prime Minister Netanyahu starts off with his natural partners. He offers Naftali Bennett a senior portfolio and jumps from 24 to 36. Netanyahu brings in the three Haredi parties (UTJ-Shas-Yachad) with promises of the Interior Minister, Appropriations Chairman and plenty of funding.  With 53 seats in the bag, Netanyahu offers Kahlon the Finance Minister position and Netanyahu’s coalition is already at 61. Yisrael Beitenu joins between Phase 2 and Phase 3.

There are challenges of course. Deri might refuse to nominate Netanyahu, even if given a major portfolio. Can Deri and Yishai sit together in the same cabinet? Can Netanyahu get away with selling out to the Haredim? Will Netanyahu be able to overpay Kahlon and/or Liberman for a commitment before they meet President Rivlin?

**

4 – Week 12 Preview

The election is in 30 days. Things have started to stabilize, no party gained or lost a complete seat this week. The ground game is also starting to pick up. Likud and Zionist Union will try to find a way to return the focus to their head-to-head match-up. Yesh Atid, Koolanu and Yisrael Beitenu will try to take advantage of Rivlin’s recent statements. Bayit Yehudi will try to keep rebounding after three consecutive weeks of bad polling with encouraging news following two Friday polls at 13 seats. The Joint Arab List and UTJ will keep focus on their plans to get out their vote.

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

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #10 (week of Feb 1-Feb 7 2015) of 9 polls from 6 polling companies (2 Maagar Mochot, 2 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 1 Smith, 1 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 0 Geocartography, Sarid, TRI, New Wave)

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

1st 25.3 (24.4) [18] Likud

2nd 23.6 (25.2) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

3rd 13.0 (14.7) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 12.0 (12.0) [11] United Arab List

5th 10.4 (09.4) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 07.5 (07.7) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 07.2 (07.1) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 06.5 (07.1) [10] Shas

9th 05.4 (05.4) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.2 (05.3) [06] Meretz

11th 03.8 (03.3) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

 

68.6 (68.0) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a BB coalition)

51.3 (52.0) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a BB coalition)

 

Changes: Likud replaces Zionist Union as the largest party.

Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 1 seat; Likud gained 0.9 of a seat and Yachad 0.5.

Biggest Losses: Bayit Yehudi dropped 1.7 seats; Zionist Union dropped 1.6 seats & Shas lost 0.6 of a seat.

 

Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 10:

1 – Herzog’s Bad Week

Politics is a roller-coaster ride. In Israel we have a short election cycle. So here, our rollercoaster ride is running on fast-forward. Labor was averaging 13.4 seats in the polls when the election cycle officially started during the first week of December. That was 1.6 seats under the 15 seats Shelly Yachomich captured in 2013 and 0.4 of a seat over Ehud Barak’s 2009 showing. The following week Opposition Leader Herzog joined in an alliance with recently fired Justice Minister Livni. Herzog jumped from 13.4 seats without Livni to 22.2 seats with Livni. The alliance that went through a few name changes (Labor-Livni/Zionist Camp/Zionist Union) instantly became the largest party in the polls.

Following the dramatic shift of power between week 1 and week 2, Herzog and Netanyahu’s Likud ran neck-and-neck in a majority of polls taken between week 3 and week 8. Both lists took turns at the top, but overall Herzog had a slight lead. Herzog’s joint ticket peaked in week 9 with 25.2. However, this week the Zionist Union dropped 1.6 seats, but this wasn’t the worst news Herzog had this week.

Herzog doubled down on Manuel Trajtenberg as his candidate for Finance Minister. Trajtenberg is Herzog’s Eli Ochana. The socialist base of the Labor Party that backs MKs such as former leaders Shelly Yachomovich and Amir Peretz look at Trajtenberg as the the Netanyahu government’s rubber stamp for economic policy. The base was already not happy with Herzog for overlooking in-house options for the senior three ministry portfolios (Livni, Yadliin) but Trajtenberg added insult to injury.

The thing is that Herzog’s appointment of Trajtenberg to a reserved spot on his list and using him as the economic face of the party is more of a coalition building problem then an internal issue. Appearing on Channel 2 news earlier this week, an angry Livni said: “It is us or him. I expect you (Lapid) to inform the public that you commit to recommend us in order to stop Netanyahu”. Lapid refused to answer. Lapid has announced he wants to keep the Finance portfolio, so why would he do Herzog-Livni a favor?  Kahlon, a former Likud minister, has also said he is running to be Finance Minister, so why would Koolanu voice any support for a future Herzog administration? Meanwhile Netanyahu has avoided making any promises when it comes to what has become such a key portfolio for the coalition building process.

It wasn’t just the polls and Trajtenberg that made this the worst week of the 10-week campaign election cycle for Herzog. Liberman, Litzman and Deri ruled out a Herzog led government this week in various interviews. The dream of a Herzog government without Likud is over. Herzog’s silver lining is that the three are not ruling out a national unity government, but the reality of a national unity government with Netanyahu and Herzog is not considered likely at this point in time.

Another issue Herzog dealt with this week was the restructuring of his field campaign staff due to internal conflicts within the party. The restructuring unfolded as rumors of heated disagreements on key issues between Herzog and Livni emerged. Herzog ends this week with one ally left – Meretz, a party that is now fighting to stay over the new electoral threshold.

2 – Prime Minister: The three phase process and the importance of my bloc polling

The Prime Minister is chosen based on a process that includes three phases. In the first phase we have the electoral elections. The lists that are elected go on to the second phase which is nominating a candidate for Prime Minister at the President’s residence. The third phase is the newly elected Knesset voting to approve the new government with a minimum requirement of 61 seats.

At this point in the first phase we have two candidates for Prime Minister: Netanyahu & Herzog-Livni. Netanyahu’s Likud (25.3) has secured Bayit Yehudi (13.0) and Yachad (03.8) during the first phase. Herzog’s Zionist Union (23.6) has so far only secured Meretz (05.2). The United Arab List (12.0) might consider nominating Herzog in phase 2 but has ruled out voting for a Herzog (or any Zionist government) in phase 3. They might be in the game for the President’s residence but they are out of the game for approving any coalition. It is for this reason that I placed the Arab List in the ‘Parties that have ruled out nominating a BB coalition’ bloc.

Of the 11 lists that are running in this election, this leaves us five parties in the middle. Yesh Atid (10.4) is not going to nominate Netanyahu to President Rivlin. It is just not going to happen. Lapid really does not like Netanyahu. Lapid is not married to Herzog either. If Herzog has no shot at forming a government, Lapid could end up in some long-shot scenarios in a Netanyahu government, assuming Netanyahu has 61 seats without him, to avoid sitting in the opposition. It is for this reason that I placed Yesh Atid in the ‘Parties that have ruled out nominating a BB coalition’ bloc. The other four lists (Koolanu, Shas, UTJ & Yisrael Beitenu) ‘have not ruled out nominating a BB coalition’ bloc’. They might go to the President’s house without nominating Netanyahu but they haven’t ruled out negotiations to join his coalition, either with Herzog or without him. Historically, party leaders usually make a decision to nominate during phase 2 after receiving a concrete promise for a top portfolio from one of the Prime Minister candidates.

A lot can happen between phase 1 and phase 2, as well as between phase 2 and phase 3. In 2013, Livni didn’t nominate Netanyahu in phase 2 but was the first to sign a coalition agreement with him for phase 3. Shas & UTJ nominated Netanyahu in phase 2 and ended up in the opposition. In 2009, Livni gave a victory speech since Kadima won 28 seats in phase 1, but she couldn’t get any other party to nominate her in phase 2. Netanyahu won 27 seats in phase 1, but left the President’s house with the nomination of 65 MKs. Netanyahu’s maneuvers between phase 2 and phase 3 included bringing in Labor, who was to the left of Livni, and leaving out the National Union who nominated him for Prime Minister.

This bloc is not meant to say that this will be the next Netanyahu government by any means. This technical bloc that I have been putting at the bottom of all of my polls has a different level of importance. If the Likud-Bayit Yehudi-Yachad-Koolanu-Shas-UTJ-Yisrael Beitenu bloc has less than 61 seats, there will be no way for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a new government.

3 – Eli Yishai’s Yachad Party & Shas Internal Politics

I was sitting with a person this week and he labeled Yishai’s joint list Yachad a collection of the ‘right-wing misfits’. It is a joint list of outcast MKs, Yishai is former Shas, Chetboun is former Bayit Yehudi, Marzel is sitting in for former MK Ben Ari and you also have a collection of smaller splinter groups that have made their way into unrealistic spots on their list. Yachad is now passing the new threshold in 8 of the 9 polls that were conducted this week, just missing threshold in the ninth poll. They are a protest vote for a collection of different communities from Sephardim to Chardal voters to Chabad to former Kahana supporters.

Shas has taken a dip this week. It is not just about Eli Yishai. The younger generation is disappointed that Former Minister Ariel Attias did not return to the list. The Bukharim are upset that MK Amnon Cohen is not on the list. The old right-wing establishment are upset MK Nissim Zeev, one of the party’s founders, is not on the list. Naming a leftist, Yitzchak Cohen, as Deri’s #2 was not a popular move in the right-wing camps of the party either. Former Yishai fans in the party are disgruntled and feel that former Yishai loyalist MK Avraham Michaeli was punished when he was placed in the 8th position behind all of the other returning Shas MKs. The northern supporters also expressed dissatisfaction with the placement of their representative, veteran MK Yitzchak Vaknin, at #7.

4 – Week 11 Preview

The election is in less than 40 days. The ground game is expected to pick up this week. Likud and Zionist Union are going to try to keep the focus on their head-to-head match-up. Bayit Yehudi is going to look to bounce back after a terrible two weeks of polling. The United Arab List is going to keep working on their plans to get out their vote. Yesh Atid is going to look to keep up their positive momentum which has brought them back to double-digits. Koolanu is going to attack Yesh Atid for centrist votes. UTJ is still focused on their internal organization for Election Day. The smaller parties (Shas, Yisrael Beitenu, Meretz and Yachad) will be fighting for screen-time.

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

Midgam conducted a poll that will be published by Yediot Achranot on Feb 6 2015.

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

25 [20] Zionist Union (Labor-Livni)
24 [18] Likud
12 [11] Bayit Yehudi
12 [11] United Arab List
11 [20] Yesh Atid
07 [10] Shas
07 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
07 [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)
06 [13] Yisrael Beitenu
05 [06] Meretz
04 [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

67 [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out a BB coalition)
53 [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out a BB coalition)

* Note: Kadima Leader Akrem Hasoon who replaced Shaul Mofaz is now running on the Kahlon list.

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #9 (week of Jan 25-Jan 31 2015) of 9 polls from 6 polling companies (2 Teleseker, 2 Panels, 2 Smith, 1 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 1 Maagar Mochot, 0 Geocartography, Sarid, TRI, New Wave)

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

1st 25.2 (24.4) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

2nd 24.4 (24.0) [18] Likud

3rd 14.7 (15.6) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 12.0 (11.2) [11] United Arab List

5th 09.4 (09.6) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 07.7 (07.6) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 07.1 (07.4) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 07.1 (07.4) [10] Shas

9th 05.4 (05.8) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.3 (05.4) [06] Meretz

11th 03.3 (03.4) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

 

68.0 (69.4) [61] Right-Religious (Parties that have not ruled out a BB coalition)

52.0 (50.4) [59] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out a BB coalition)

Largest Gains: Zionist Union and United Arab List gained 0.8 seats each, Likud gained 0.4.

Biggest Losses: Bayit Yehudi dropped 0.9 seats, Yisrael Beitenu lost 0.4., Shas & UTJ lost 0.3 each.

Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 9:

1 – The Craziest week of polling – Unusual news cycle shifts and submitting of the lists

The four polls conducted earlier in the week had Zionist Union ahead, yet Likud led Labor in the average of the five polls conducted later in the week. Bayit Yehudi had a bad week in the polling department following the Eli Ochana saga. The news cycle week started with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming speech in Washington as the main headline and it slowly shifted towards security matters as the northern border heated up. Thursday’s news cycle was filled with drama as the last parties submitted their lists. The movement caused this week’s polls to jump from one side to another. Next week we will be looking at a full week of numbers following the publication of the final lists.

2 – The Collapse of the Center: Yesh Atid 9.4, Koolanu 7.7, Yisrael Beitenu 5.4

The center keeps shrinking. Yesh Atid, the largest party in the outgoing Knesset, is now polling as the 5th largest party. Yesh Atid is frequently polling at 8 seats, but still manages a 9.4 average thanks to 4 of the 9 polls this week that still put them in double-digits. After facing weeks of declining polls, Lapid went with a very similar list to last time, just two new faces in his top 18.

Kahlon lost his #3 because she didn’t resign from her government job in time to run in the election, the Na Nach Nachman party stole the ‘Koolanu’ name for their party and Kahlon made a last minute decision to merge with new Kadima leader Hasoon for their 2 seats of party funding. Kahlon was averaging in double digits before he picked a name, a list to run with and started an actual campaign.

Another week has gone by, so Yisrael Beitenu has lost more support. Yisrael Beitenu is now polling 9th with just 5.4 seats. Yisrael Beitenu finished with just 4 or 5 seats in a majority of polls conducted this week. Voters seem to still be confused about what Liberman stands for anymore.

3 – Haredim: UTJ 7.1, Shas 7.1, Yachad 3.3

UTJ submitted the same seven people from last time for their top seven spots this time. In the Shas shuffle Shas MKs Zeev, Amnon Cohen and Edri were forced into retirement. The other seven MKs were reordered to take the 2-8 spots after Shas leader Aryeh Deri. Yishai’s party Yachad passed the threshold in a third of the polls, including the only poll conducted after the Yishai-Marzel merger. I will expand on Yishai’s unlikely joint alliance list next week.

4 –United Arab List 12.0 and Meretz 5.3

The results of the first week of polling after the United Arab List was formed are in. Nine polls from six different polling companies all agree – 4th place and 12 seats. For now the alliance is proving to be a fruitful endeavor. Meretz keeps slipping and is now polling 10th. Meretz, who is polling a high of 6 this week, has failed so far in their attempt to convince leftist voters not to vote for the Zionist Union.

5 – 26 Lists and the 3.25% Threshold.

There are 26 lists running in this election and it looks like only 10 or 11 will pass the new threshold. 26 lists is the least number of lists running in an election since 1996 when Prime Minister Netanyahu was elected to his first term. Labor, United Arab List, Yesh Atid, UTJ, Meretz, Likud and Shas submitted 120 seats for this election; Bayit Yehudi submitted 110, Koolanu 33, Yisrael Beitenu 30 and Yachad 26.

6 – Week 9 Preview

Now that the final lists are in the polls will start to stabilize and the general election campaigns will start to kick into full gear. Next week’s average will prove to be interesting.

Candidates for Knesset Lists in English:

Midgam conducted a poll of 575 people with a margin of error of 4.5% that was broadcast by Channel 2 on Jan 27 2015.

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

26 [20] Labor-Livni
23 [18] Likud
15 [11] Bayit Yehudi
12 [11] United Arab List
09 [20] Yesh Atid
08 [00] Koolanu (Kahlon)
07 [13] Yisrael Beitenu
07 [10] Shas
07 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [06] Meretz
00 [02] Ha’am Itanu – under 3.25% threshold
00 [02] Kadima

67 [61] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out a BB coalition)
53 [59] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out a BB coalition)

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #8 (week of Jan 18-Jan 24 2015) of 5 polls from 3 polling companies (2 Teleseker, 2 Panels, 1 Smith, 0 Dialog, Midgam, Maagar Mochot, Geocartography, Sarid, TRI, New Wave)

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

1st 24.4 (24.8) [20] Labor+Livni

2nd 24.0 (23.2) [18] Likud

3rd 15.6 (16.2) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 09.6 (09.6) [20] Yesh Atid

5th 07.6 (08.8) [–] Koolanu

6th 07.4 (07.3) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

6th 07.4 (06.6) [10] Shas

8th 05.8 (06.0) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

9th 05.4 (05.6) [06] Meretz

10th 03.4 (03.1) [02] Ha’am Itanu (Yishai+Chetboun)

11th 11.2 (11.0) [11] Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al & Balad (not all polls have them united)

12th 00.0 (00.0) [02] Kadima

 

69.4 (68.7) [61] Right-Religious (Parties that have not ruled out a BB coalition)

50.4 (51.2) [59] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out a BB coalition)

 

Changes from week 7 to week 8:           

UTJ and Shas are now tied for 6th.

Largest Gains: Likud and Shas both gained 0.8 seats each, Yishai gained 0.3.

Biggest Losses: Koolanu dropped 1.2 seats, Bayit Yehudi lost 0.6., Labor-Livni lost 0.4.

 

Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 8:

1 –Coalition by the numbers: Labor-Livni 24.4, Likud 24.0. Bayit Yehudi 15.6, Meretz 5.4.

Likud cut the average difference to less than half of a seat between them and the Labor-Livni alliance. Both satellite parties took a hit this week. Meretz had hoped their Central Committee election for their MK list would give them a bump similar to the three parties that had open primaries. A possible reason that didn’t happen was Meretz electing five incumbents to the first five spots and a former MK to the 6th slot.

2 – Coalition Building – Herzog’s Problem: The Labor-Livni-Meretz bloc is at 29.8 and Likud-Bayit Yehudi is at 39.6 (without Yishai’s 3.4). Koolanu, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas and UTJ could go with either side; they are unlike Meretz, Bayit Yehudi and Yishai. There are many pundits who rush to place the four parties in a possible Herzog coalition but the four parties have not ruled out a coalition with Netanyahu and will prefer whoever gives them the best deal. Yesh Atid is a different story because Lapid prefers Herzog to Netanyahu, but there are various (longshot) scenarios where Lapid would consider a Netanyahu government over the opposition.  The United Arab List might under the right circumstances nominate Herzog as a candidate to form a government to President Rivlin, but they will not vote for a Zionist government in a Knesset vote that requires 61 MKs to form a coalition. The Arabs could act as a safety net in the future by blocking no-confidence motions from the opposition if a coalition party left a future Herzog government.

Herzog’s main problem is not that his Labor-Livni-Meretz bloc is 10 seats behind the Netanyahu-Bennett bloc; rather it is that he has overcommitted himself. The beginning of Herzog’s future government will look like this: Prime Minister Herzog, Foreign Minister Livni, Defense Minister Yadliin, Finance Minister Trachtenberg. Gal-On & Margalit were both promised top portfolios, most likely the Education or Interior for Gal-On & the Economy Ministry for Margalit. Herzog will be expected to give Yachmovich a respectable minister position as well. Herzog does not have much to offer Lapid, Liberman, Kahlon and Deri, considering he is already committed to six top portfolios and he has to deal with a mandatory 18 minister limit that will be enforced this time.

Netanyahu has fewer commitments, has made few promises, and has a larger bloc of loyal votes. Netanyahu is in a great position to offer Kahlon the Finance Ministry, he can easily offer Liberman a top ministry, UTJ will be offered the Chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee again and Shas can return to the Interior Ministry.

However, if the parties that have not ruled out a Netanyahu coalition dip under 61 seats, Netanyahu’s re-election will be impossible and Herzog’s election becomes probable.

3 – The Center: Yesh Atid 9.6, Koolanu 7.6, Yisrael Beitenu 5.8

The center keeps shrinking. Yesh Atid remained steady this week. Tomorrow we should learn of Lapid’s appointments for Yesh Atid’s next Knesset list and the fate of the 18 (of 20) MKs seeking re-election. Koolanu keeps dropping and people are trying to figure out when their campaign will get off the ground. Another week has gone by, so Yisrael Beitenu has lost more support. Liberman assures us that his party will not fall under the new threshold he created. Five Yisrael Beitenu MKs ‘left’ political life willingly, another three MKs were placed in unrealistic spots during the “Liberman massacre” this week, which also placed two MKs in questionable spots. It is possible that Liberman will only be taking 2 of his MKs with him to the next Knesset, assuming he passes the threshold.

4 – Haredim: UTJ 7.4, Shas 7.4, Ha’am Itanu 3.4

The Haredim are most likely going to be in the next government. Netanyahu and Herzog would both prefer to avoid them if possible, but with the current numbers neither will be able to form a government without them. Shas was facing the threshold a few weeks ago and now they are back polling even with UTJ. Yishai’s polling numbers are getting stronger and this week we will learn if Ben-Ari will join him. Yishai is also waiting to see which Shas MKs are placed lower by Deri so that he can move them over to his list.

5 –United Arab List and Kadima

Starting next week all polls will have the United Arab List as one party and we will be able to treat the list as such in all polling. This is most likely the last week we will ever have to poll Kadima. The last party lists will be submitted on Thursday. Few people expect Mofaz to run on his own and he might not run with anyone at all. Kadima, the largest party of the 17th and 18th Knesset’s, the party of Prime Minister’s Sharon and Olmert, led afterwards by Livni and Mofaz will most likely die before the 19th Knesset is over.

6 – Week 9 Preview

The final lists will be presented by all parties before the Thursday night deadline. There will be a lot of ups and downs this week. The polls will begin to make more sense starting next Sunday.

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #7 (week of Jan 11-Jan 18 2015) of 9 polls from 5 polling companies (3 Teleseker, 2 Panels, 2 Smith, 1 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 0 Maagar Mochot, Geocartography, Sarid, TRI, New Wave)

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

1st 24.8 (23.6) [21] Labor+Livni

2nd 23.2 (24.0) [18] Likud

3rd 16.2 (15.3) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 09.6 (10.3) [19] Yesh Atid

5th 08.8 (08.6) [–] Koolanu

6th 07.3 (07.5) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

7th 06.6 (06.0) [10] Shas

8th 06.0 (06.6) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

9th 05.6 (06.1) [06] Meretz

10th 03.1 (03.1) [02] Ha’am Itanu (Yishai+Chetboun)

11th 11.0 (11.0) [11] Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al & Balad (not all polls have them united)

12th 00.0 (00.0) [02] Kadima

 

68.7 (68.8) [61] Right-Religious (Parties that have not ruled out a BB coalition)

51.2 (51.1) [59] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out a BB coalition)

 

Changes from week 6 to week 7:            

Labor-Livni replaces Likud as the largest party.

Shas jumps from 9th to 7th, while Yisrael Beitenu drops to 8th and Meretz to 9th.

Largest Gains: Labor-Livni gained 1.2 seats, Bayit Yehudi gained .9 and Shas gained .6.

Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.8, Yesh Atid lost 0.7., Yisrael Beitenu lost 0.6.

 

Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 7:

1 – The post-primary bump: Labor-Livni 24.8, Likud 23.2, Bayit Yehudi 16.2.

Same headline as last week. The two parties that gained the most ground this week both had mid-week primaries. For the last two weeks the post-primary bump has helped Likud, this week the bump went to the other two democratic parties that have open primaries. The public loves primaries, no matter the result. Just like Likud, Labor and Bayit Yehudi chose more or less the same people they voted for two years ago. In Labor, Likud and Bayit Yehudi there are reserved slots that will balance their lists with new faces.

2 – The Center: Yesh Atid 9.6, Koolanu 8.8, Yisrael Beitenu 6.0

The center is splintered and shrinking. There will be no joint list between the three center parties. Yesh Atid has dropped out of double digits again and we still don’t know the order of their list. Koolanu announced the order of their top 10 to little fanfare. Yisrael Beitenu keeps losing ground and is now about two seats from falling under the threshold.

Yisrael Beitenu 2013: #2 Minister Shamir, #3 Minister Landau, #5 Minister Aharonovich, #7 Deputy Minister Kirshenbaum, #8 Chairman Rotem. – All gone for 2015.

Yisrael Beitenu 2015: Foreign Minister Liberman, MK Levi-Abukasis, Minister Landver and a journalist from Channel 20.

3 – Haredim: UTJ 7.3, Shas 6.6, Ha’am Itanu 3.1

It is very hard for people to explain how Aryeh Deri is back and Shas continues to gain as a result. The answer is that these people really  feel like they don’t have anywhere else to turn to (yet). Yishai failed to pass the threshold in 8 of the 9 polls taken this week, which means he will start talking to former MK Ben Ari about a joint list.

4 – Meretz 5.6 and the United Arab List

Remember when Meretz was in double digits? Now they are within the margin of error in some polls of falling under the threshold. Their Central Committee will choose their next list this week. Meretz is hoping their Central Committee vote will give them the same type of bump Labor enjoyed after their primary this week.

The Hadash & Balad Central Committees chose their lists as we get closer to the merger deadline.

5 – The Bloc War and the President Mandate

People keep writing to me that Herzog has the best chance to form a coalition. They give me a long list of the people in the know that agree with them. The problem is that the numbers don’t add up. Anything can happen in the world of politics. But, you can’t honestly tell me that it is more likely that the Haredim are going to sit in a coalition with Yesh Atid than Yesh Atid sitting in a coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu. You need 61 votes to approve a new coalition and let’s face it – Koolanu & Yisrael Beitenu would join either coalition.

A Labor-Livni-Yesh Atid-Koolanu-Yisrael Beitenu-Meretz coalition is 54.8.
A Likud-Bayit Yehudi-Koolanu-UTJ-Shas-Yisrael Beitenu coalition (without Yishai passing, or adding Yesh Atid) is 68.7.

When a Herzog coalition becomes viable I will list it.

In the last two terms President Shimon Peres did not want to give the mandate to form the government to Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem for him was that he had to. If the combined seat total of the party leaders that nominate an individual for Prime Minister comes out to 61 (or more), the President has to give the mandate to that person. It is possible that a party like Koolanu will not nominate someone for Prime Minister to give them more negotiation power, but maybe a creditable journalist should get a clear answer on that question before assuming that is how things will be.

6 – Week 8 Preview

Less than two weeks to finalize Knesset lists. Yesh Atid needs to pick a list. Likud, Labor & Bayit Yehudi all have reserved slots to fill. Meretz’s Central Committee chooses their list. United Arab List or bust? Is this the last full week we will have to poll Kadima? There are many story-lines to follow this week.