Exit Polls Show Netanyahu Lost Ground to Centrist Party
Pleasantly surprised. I wonder if the degradation of news media (Israel’s example almost matches the American one) has created such a gap in perception vs reality when it comes to polls? Because I actually thought for a bit there Romney would win or come close to Obama and it was based on how I was processing the news.
Anyway, here is the article:
TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu performed far worse than expected in Israel’s national elections on Tuesday, according to exit polls, and while he remained likely to serve a third term, a surprise surge by a new centrist party indicated that he would be under pressure to form a more moderate governing coalition.
As polls closed at 10 p.m., Israeli news channels reported that Mr. Netanyahu’s rightist Likud-Beiteinu list would win 30 or 31 of Parliament’s 120 seats, and the new centrist party, There is a Future, would take 18, followed by left-leaning Labor, with 17. More important, the polls showed a significant tightening between the bloc of right-wing and religious parties, with a razor-thin majority of 61, and 59 for the center-left factions.
‘Israelis are asking for a moderate coalition,’ said Marcus Sheff, executive director of The Israel Project, an advocacy group. ‘Israel’s middle class wasn’t asleep as people assumed. The embers of the social protest are still strong.’
The exit polls, which are preliminary, suggested that Mr. Netanyahu’s challengers had a far stronger showing than the prime minister and his aides had anticipated. Two hours before the polls closed, Mr. Netanyahu made an urgent appeal for support from Israelis who had not yet voted.
‘The Likud leadership is in danger,’ Mr. Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page around 8 p.m. ‘I ask you to leave everything and go out now to vote,’ he added. ‘This is very important to guarantee the future of the state of Israel.’
While Mr. Netanyahu’s joint campaign list with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu faction was still expected to win more of Parliament’s seats than the next-largest party, making him the likeliest candidate to lead the next government, a relatively weak showing and a surge for centrist and left-leaning parties could force him to moderate his policies and leave him with a fragile coalition of competing interests.