News Nosh 02.06.15

APN's special Israeli Election Polls Review
Friday February 6, 2015

Numbers of the day:
57.6%.
--Number of Jewish voters who think that socio-economic issues are of top importance in choosing a party to vote for in the upcoming elections.**

Election 2015 Polls:
Likud has a slight lead over Zionist Camp in four out of five Israeli election polls published this week, but the right-wing parties together make a much bigger bloc than the left and center-left wing together (i.e. Meretz and Zionist Camp, respectively). Project 61 offers an informative breakdown of the ideological blocs based on the recent polls. (See here for a look at the parties and their candidates.)

Forming a government might prove difficult to the Zionist Camp. The 'left-wing' bloc together with the ‘centrist’ parties form a larger bloc than the right-wing, but not the 61 needed to have a majority in the Knesset, say polls. (P61 considers Kulanu and Yesh Atid ‘centrist’ parties because they are willing to enter into a coalition with Zionist Camp.) To have a majority in the Knesset, the leftish alliance would need the Joint List of Hadash and Arab parties to join them. However, Arab parties are non-Zionist and never invited to join coalitions. That said, non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox parties are invited to join coalition governments. The ultra-Orthodox Shas (right-wing) and Yehadut Hatorah (UTJ) have a total of 15 mandates, according to polls. And in any case, those same right-leaning ‘centrist parties,’ could also join a right-wing coalition government, which would give it more than 60 mandates without the need to bring anyone else in.

Project 61 shows that Maariv’s poll marked the biggest gap between the two largest parties, with 26 mandates for Likud and 22 for Zionist Camp. However, a poll by Kol Baramah ultra-Orthodox radio station gave both parties 24 mandates. The far-right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, the Joint list of Hadash party and the Arab parties and the center-right Yesh Atid party trail directly behind respectively with between 9-14 mandates. After them come the ultra-Orthodox Yehadut Hatorah (UTJ), Moshe Kahlon’s center-right Kulanu, the left-wing Zionist Meretz party, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, the far-right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and the even farther right-wing Yachad party led by former Shasnik Eli Yishai.
 
The Tel-Aviv University Peace Index shows that more than half of the Jews polled (53.2%) would like a right-wing government after the coming elections, while only 38.3% would like a center-left bloc. Of Israel’s Arab citizens, 54% would want a center-left government and, interestingly, 17.5% would like a right-wing bloc. Some 28% either don’t know or declined to answer. Of the general population, 47.3% want a right-wing government while 41% want a center-left bloc. Most of the people polled (54.7%) believe that a right-wing bloc has a greater chance of forming the next government.
 
**Despite the fact that the majority of Israeli Jews support a right-wing government and most think that a right-wing party will be most likely to form the next government, the most important issue for both Jews and Arabs in the determining who they’ll vote for in the upcoming elections is the socio-economic issue – not political-security issues – and for that they think that a government headed by the center-left Zionist Camp is more suited. According to the TAU Peace Index, 42.6% of the Jews and 55.7% of the Arabs said that socio-economic issues are of utmost importance. Another 15% of the Jews and 10.2% of the Arabs thought both issues are equally important. However, 52.3% of the Jews and 57.8% of the Arabs think ‘a government headed by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog is better suited to deal with Israel’s socioeconomic issues.’

Jewish Israeli youth are largely right-wing in their views, according to surveys taken over the last few weeks, Ynet reported. Some 67% of first-time voters, who are aged 18-20, define themselves as either right-wing or center-right. They make up about 5% of the total voters.
 
Ynet has a beginner’s guide to the Israeli election system.

Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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