Poll: Barak Closing in on Netanyahu
(IsraelNN.com) The latest poll on who is best suited to be Prime Minister leaves Likud chairman Knesset Member Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu in first place, but puts Labor party chairman Ehud Barak a close second. The survey commissioned for Voice of Israel government radio also reveals that Barak is highly favored by Kadima voters.
Netanyahu received 32 percent support, two points more than Barak, but one-third of the respondents rejected both leaders. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received only five percent backing.
Given a choice between Kadima's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Barak and MK Netanyahu, the Likud chairman received support from 29 percent of the respondents, and the Foreign Minister and Barak each received 24 percent.
This is a follow up to my post Gridlock.
More of Israel may be realizing that the difference between the leading candidates for Prime Minister isn't that significant. Both of the men in the race left office defeated, Bibi by Barak and Barak, slaughtered and in disgrace by the bulldozer Sharon. Livni would be a safe pick but coming from the sitting party in power, the party of Olmert, she will have to run as the "not Olmert" candidate from his own party. In the end, the State loses.
What remains to be true, however, is how the candidates differ not on the Arab policy but on their economic policy. Here Bibi is the favorite. The run up to the next election has now begun. Look for Labour and Kadima to work out their differences either before or immediately after the election and for Bibi to attempt to inject an economic angle into the election that is unexpected.
The reality is as pointed out in Gridlock, Israel remains without a sufficient choice for Prime Minister. The wild card is how much President Peres will inject himself into the campaign, or better how much he will be allowed to wipe out the lines of bi-partisanship which his new office requires and open up his bag of political tricks.