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Right prefers Landau over Eitam 54.5%:27.3% -Yachad prefers Sarid over Beilin 72%:22%

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    Poll: Right prefers Landau over Eitam 54.5%:27.3%; Yachad prefers Sarid over Beilin 72%:22% Warring brothers By Yossi Verter Haaretz 29 April 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30 5:56 PM
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      Poll: Right prefers Landau over Eitam 54.5%:27.3%; Yachad prefers Sarid over
      Beilin 72%:22%
      Warring brothers
      By Yossi Verter Haaretz 29 April 2005
      www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/570269.html

      A comparison of Effi Eitam and Yossi Beilin will not flatter either one, and
      it's the last thing either would wish for. But sometimes fate creates odd
      couples. This week, the two of them found themselves in the same boat - a
      leaky one that could soon sink to the bottom of the ocean with the two of
      them inside.

      Eitam and Beilin are only two of a long line of politicians whose political
      and leadership standing was studied in a special survey conducted last week
      for Haaretz by the Dialogue polling institute. The survey, under the
      supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, looked at how the
      leaders of Israel's major parties and several senior ministers are faring
      these days, in relation to their predecessors, whose shadows still loom
      large, or in relation to those challenging them. On the whole, pairs were
      chosen to play this game of "A Leader is Born," with a few troikas thrown
      in.

      Eitam, the banished and estranged leader of the National Religious Party
      (NRP), today seeking his future in a new rightist party, and Beilin, cast
      out of the Labor Party and elected about a year ago to head Yahad-Meretz,
      provide some of the survey's more interesting findings. The boat they
      share - a virtual one - is the boat of leadership and belonging. Eitam and
      Beilin, as depicted in this survey, are leaders without parties, shepherds
      without flocks, popes without believers.

      Beilin's situation is even more complex because he, unlike Eitam, heads a
      party and he hasn't been dislodged yet. Beilin is paired up in the survey
      with his predecessor, MK Yossi Sarid. Survey participants were asked which
      of the two were more suited to head Yahad.

      For Beilin, the poll results are devastating. Among the general public, 47
      percent opted for Sarid and 26.6 percent for Beilin. Among Yahad voters,
      Beilin was really trounced: 72 percent of the respondents voted for Sarid,
      as opposed to 22 percent for Beilin. Even respondents from other parties -
      including the ultra-Orthodox parties, who remember Beilin roaming around the
      rebbe's courts day and night, dispatched by Shimon Peres - gave more votes
      to Sarid - 33.3 percent as opposed to 31 percent. It is hard to see how
      Beilin can extricate himself from such a rut, and how he and Yahad can
      continue together. There seems to be more rancor and antipathy toward him in
      his own party than in the Likud (26 percent voted for him compared with 43
      percent for Sarid). That is an untenable situation for him.

      Eitam's standing was measured by the following question: "If a new rightist
      party is founded on the eve of the elections, who would you like to see
      heading it - Eitam or Uzi Landau, the leader of the Likud rebels?" Eitam, it
      turns out, is just not perceived as leadership material. Something about him
      doesn't make the grade, even though he is just as right-wing, extreme and
      bellicose as Landau. Apart from the ultra-Orthodox, who prefer him to Landau
      because of the skullcap on his head, there is no one who wants to see him
      become leader of the right - not on the left and not on the right, including
      the NRP, his former home, and the National Union, where Landau enjoys a
      majority of 54.5 percent compared with 27.3 percent for Eitam.

      For Eitam and Beilin, the same conclusion applies: Parachuting down from the
      sky doesn't work. Artificial inserts never fit properly. If you try to
      attach them by force, they bend and eventually break.

      A more conventional pair is Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. In answer to the
      question of who is better suited to head the Labor Party and run for prime
      minister, Peres continues to lead: 45 percent versus 20.2 percent in the
      survey as a whole, but among Labor Party voters, the difference narrows,
      with 43 percent for Peres and 30.6 percent for Barak. Barak started out with
      a lag but he has been catching up, thanks to his work in the field and
      choice media appearances. Little by little, Barak is moving toward the
      target - dunam by dunam, hill by hill. The question is whether he has enough
      time to complete the mission. Another question is where Barak stands among
      the Labor Party members who make up the electorate. Next week, Labor will
      meet to discuss postponing the primaries for chairmanship of the party from
      June to sometime in October or November. The delay could help Barak.

      Deri's shadow

      From one mythological leader who is still alive and kicking - Peres - we
      progress to another mythological leader who has quit political life but
      continues to cast a very long shadow. Former Shas leader Aryeh Deri, forced
      to resign in the wake of a criminal conviction, is still very much in the
      game, if Shas voters have any say in the matter (and not only Shas).

      In answer to the question of who should head Shas - Aryeh Deri or MK Eli
      Yishai, the current chairman - Deri and Yishai were more or less tied in the
      minds of the general public: 33.3 percent voted for Deri and 36.5 percent
      for Yishai. Yishai, of course, is the favorite of the left. But among the
      ultra-Orthodox parties (Shas and United Torah Judaism), Yishai lost big
      time: 61 percent voted for Deri and 26.8 percent for his successor.

      At first glance, this is bad news for Yishai. Actually, he is not doing
      badly at all. In the next elections, Shas will try to steal votes from the
      Likud, and among Likudniks, Yishai and Deri were pretty much tied: 39.4
      percent versus 37.4 percent. Yishai could thus bring Shas more seats, or at
      least help it preserve its strength.

      At the other end of the scale is Shinui chairman Yosef Lapid and the man who
      is turning out to be his chief one-man party rival, Prof. Uriel Reichman,
      president of the Shinui National Council. Among Shinui voters, at least,
      Lapid is in the lead. The recent slips of the European gentleman do not seem
      to have weakened him in the eyes of his constituents. He beat Reichman 61
      percent to 17 percent. In the general sample, the margin was narrower: 40.2
      percent for Lapid as opposed to 29.7 percent for Reichman. On closer
      inspection, however, Reichman supporters were mainly Lapid opponents. Haredi
      respondents, who voted for Reichman en masse (40.5 percent versus 14.3
      percent), probably don't even know who he is. They would cast their vote for
      anyone on the list, as long as it wasn't Lapid, their arch foe.

      The Haaretz poll also looked at attitudes toward two top ministers - the
      defense minister and the finance minister - as compared with "virtual"
      rivals. Shaul Mofaz was paired, somewhat provocatively, with the outgoing
      chief of staff, Moshe Ya'alon. The outcome is embarrassing for Mofaz. The
      responses of the general public are almost a tie: 40.3 percent for Ya'alon
      as opposed to 41.7 percent for Mofaz. Israeli defense ministers are very
      popular. Those who are successful - and you can't take away Mofaz's success
      in fighting terror - are supposed to bask in the public's love and
      gratitude. But Mofaz is paying the price for getting rid of Ya'alon. More
      than articulating lack of confidence in Mofaz, the poll results are a token
      of esteem for the humiliated chief of staff, a pat on the back of the
      perceived victim, a vindication of the scapegoat.

      He may have been bumped because of his opposition to the disengagement, but
      Ya'alon enjoys the broad support of the left (47 percent among Labor Party
      voters, as opposed to 36.7 percent for Mofaz; and 55.6 percent among Meretz
      voters, as opposed to 22.2 percent for Mofaz, who is identified with the
      disengagement). If it's any consolation for Mofaz, he has the Likud voters
      on his side - 58 percent, compared with 34 percent for Ya'alon. At the end
      of the day, that's what counts, because the Likud is his political home.

      Bibi superstar

      Netanyahu is way ahead of Mofaz. The survey made things hard for him:
      Instead of pairing him off with one rival, he had to compete with two. He
      was set up against Avraham ("Beiga") Shochat of Labor, who was a popular and
      successful finance minister for six years, under Rabin and Barak; and Amir
      Peretz, chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, Netanyahu's polar
      opposite.

      The outcome was crystal clear: With all the draconian cutbacks, the poverty,
      the soup kitchens and other socioeconomic ills of the last two years, the
      people want Netanyahu in the job. As a prime ministerial rival to Sharon, he
      has crash-landed time and again, but as finance minister, they love him.
      Some 43.4 percent of the general public cast their vote for Netanyahu,
      compared to 14 percent for Shochat and 19.2 percent for Peretz (Likudniks
      are masochists, explained a senior party member). Among the right-wing
      parties, Netanyahu is a superstar. Even the ultra-Orthodox, who have taken
      abuse from him in the form of child allowance cutbacks, supported him
      handsomely: 48.8 percent versus 7 percent for Shochat and 30.2 percent for
      Peretz. As anticipated, Shochat was awarded very high marks by Meretz and
      his party, Labor.

      The poll skipped over run-of-the-mill candidates for Likud leadership like
      Netanyahu, Olmert, Mofaz, Shalom and Livnat, and took a more far-sighted
      view, trying to guess what might happen in the Likud a decade from now. For
      the fun of it, two young ministers were chosen with vastly different
      political approaches and personal styles: Justice and Absorption Minister
      Tzipi Livni and Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz.

      Livni is perceived as solidly aligned with the disengagement and Prime
      Minister Sharon. She is one of the more moderate politicians in the Likud.
      She represents a kind of open, secular, liberal approach, not bullying or in
      your face. Katz is at the other end of the spectrum: an outspoken opponent
      of disengagement. In the past, he was in favor of Netanyahu running against
      Sharon. Today he is considered an independent, a rising force in the party
      plenum, a sophisticated, seasoned and shrewd politician who has learned the
      ropes from the best teacher around - Sharon.

      The public, it turns out, would choose Livni hands down: 45.8 percent of the
      respondents preferred to see her heading the Likud 10 years from now, as
      opposed to 22.8 percent for Katz. Among Likud voters, her standing was even
      better (in stark contrast to her standing among members of the Likud Central
      Committee): 48.7 percent versus 19.2 percent for Katz. On the right, of
      course, Katz is the big winner (even among the Arab parties!), whereas Livni
      butchers him in the left and center. In many ways, she is the image of
      Sharon - muddling along in the central committee, soaring to the heavens
      outside.

      For the Labor Party, the survey paired up two popular young ministers
      appointed to the government several months ago: Interior Minister Ophir
      Pines-Paz, and Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Herzog. The gap
      between Pines-Paz and Herzog is much smaller than between Livni and Katz,
      but the pattern is similar: Pines-Paz trounces Herzog among Labor Party
      voters (59.2 percent versus 20.4 percent), comes out ahead in the general
      public (45.3 percent versus 25.1 percent) and wins the vote of the left,
      right and center. Only in the ultra-Orthodox parties, which remember Herzog
      fondly as the scion of a famous rabbinical family, does Herzog emerge
      victorious in a showdown with Pines-Paz, who is perceived as anti-religious.
      Herzog's problem lies in his public image. He is not perceived as a leader,
      whereas Pines has taken part in many political battles in the Israeli
      street, and clearly is.

      Lastly, the survey explored the standing of three retired members of the
      defense establishment, two of whom have been cited as likely to enter
      politics someday, and one who has already taken his first steps in that
      direction. The first two are ex-Shin Bet chief Yaakov Peri and ex-general
      Uzi Dayan, and the third is ex-Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon, a new member of
      the Labor Party and a political rookie. The question posed was "Which one
      would you like to see in an influential, top-tier political position?"
      Ayalon, whose name is most familiar to Israelis, took first place, with 30.6
      percent of the vote, followed by Peri with 23.5 percent (his appearance on
      the Israeli TV program "The Ambassador" must have helped), and Dayan, with
      17.6 percent. In the Labor Party, which Ayalon has already joined and Dayan
      is thinking of joining, and Peri was once touted as a candidate to lead,
      Ayalon won first place with 37.5 percent of the vote, Peri won second place
      with 25 percent, and Dayan came in third with 23 percent.
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