Last updated: 3 August, 2012

Poll shows lower support for Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party

The popularity of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has fallen while that of the opposition Labour party is rising fast, the results of a newspaper poll showed on Friday.

The opinion poll carried out by the Dialog Institute for the daily Haaretz showed that if a general election were held now, Likud’s current 27 seats in the Knesset or parliament would fall to 25. A July poll said Likud would secure 29 seats.

Shelly Yachimovich’s Labour, with 13 seats now, would win 21 seats in an election, well up from a July estimate of 14.

A total of 513 adults were surveyed for the poll, with a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

The poll also showed Netanyahu’s personal popularity plummeting to its lowest point since his election in 2009 because of a series of tough austerity measures.

Asked if they were satisfied or dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s performance as premier, 60 percent said they were unhappy, while 31 percent said the opposite. The rest had no opinion.

Israel’s next general election is due in October 2013.

But the poll showed that if one were held now, the centrist Kadima party would see its representation shrink from a current 28 seats to just seven (nine in July).

The recently formed Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party would harvest 12 of those seats (16 estimated in July).

Other parties would stay generally where they are now in terms of representation, the poll showed.

Earlier this week, the cabinet voted through a package of austerity measures, central to which were a hike in income and sales taxes, as well as across-the-board cuts to the state budget.

Most of the measures, which are expected to further hit the underprivileged, are to take effect immediately.