Thursday, March 12, 2015

Did Boehner Lose Netanyahu His Reelection By Bringing Him To Washington?


Yesterday, The Hill reported that after his congressional campaign rally with Republicans and his war-mongering speech, Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu saw his approval rating in the U.S. drop. Gallup showed him dropping 7 points to 38%-- down 7% in the last month-- since the bombastic speech. The polling shows that Republicans like him more but that normal people were turned off to his ideas and his approach and now see him unfavorably. But his ratings in the U.S. isn't Netanyahu's biggest problem,. A new poll released in Israel yesterday also show Israeli voters are skeptical about returning his right-wing government to power next week (March 17). It looks like the center-left Zionist Union is poised to take over the Knesset, though that determination will be made in backroom negotiations between the parties after the voting is done.
Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union has maintained its 24-to-21-seat lead against Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud in the Knesset Channel's latest poll, suggesting that the prime minister's speech to Congress last week hasn't buoyed his party before the March 17 election.

According to the poll results released Tuesday, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would come in third in the 120-seat parliament at 14 seats-- the party's best showing this election season.

Zionist Union is the joint slate of Herzog's Labor Party and Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah. The station's previous poll came out just before Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress a week ago.

Both surveys project 13 seats for the Joint List of Arab parties and 12 for Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party has edged up to nine seats from eight, while left-wing Meretz has eased to five seats from six.

Support for the ultra-Orthodox parties is stable. Shas is unchanged at seven seats and United Torah Judaism is down to six seats from seven.

In the poll, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu comes in at five seats and Eli Yishai's Yahad Ha'am Itanu at four. Parties must receive at least 3.25 percent of the vote-- four seats-- to make it into the Knesset.

...Based on the poll, Herzog could have the support of 56 Knesset members to form a government, compared with 55 at best for Netanyahu. Herzog would have the support of Yesh Atid, Joint List  and Meretz, while Netanyahu would have the support, at best, of Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beiteinu and Yahad Ha'am Itanu.

Shas chief Arye Dery and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman have not ruled out supporting Herzog instead of Netanyahu. Kulanu's Kahlon has said he would not make any recommendation to President Reuven Rivlin on who should form a government.

In the poll, respondents were also asked how they characterize themselves politically. Only 8 percent of Jews said they were left-wing, while 35 percent said they were right-wing.
And it wasn't just The Hill reading the writing on the wall. The Wall Street Journal reported to its readers yesterday that Netanyahu and his party have "begun to fall behind an opponent who promises to restart talks with Palestinians and smooth the prime minister’s notoriously rocky relations with the White House. Two polls on Wednesday put Isaac Herzog, leader of the dovish Labor Party, slightly ahead and suggest that support for Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud party among working-class Jews has eroded because of their widespread perception that he has focused on nuclear threats from Iran and extremist Muslims at the expense of economic problems."
A scion of one of Israel’s most prominent political families, Mr. Herzog is promising to reset Israeli-U.S. ties and deal more discreetly with their differences over the Iran nuclear deal. He also pledges to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and make housing prices more affordable. The latter point speaks to what Israelis say is the most important election issue this time around—the high cost of living and other socioeconomic problems.
Netanyahu turned to his Facebook page to scare voters into backing him: "This time you must vote Likud-- because if the gap between Likud and Labour isn't closed, there is a real danger that Tzipi and Buji (Herzog) will head the next government with the support of the Arab parties." American consultants have been helping in the election, Republicans firmly behind Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, and Democrats backing groups seeking to deny him another term. Jeremy Bird, national field director in both Obama’s presidential campaigns has been working on a field plan to help defeat the Likud. And Netanyahu hired a Ted Cruz operative, Vincent Harris to bolster Netanyahu's flailing campaign, as well as the GOP pollster with the worst record in the history of polling, John McLaughlin. The Zionist Union hired Stanley Greenberg and Paul Begala, two of the most successful campaign operatives in America.

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