Poll: Likud Leads, But Netanyahu Losing Approval

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may have been more affected by the State Comptroller's scandalous report on his expenses than previously thought. 

A recent set of surveys by the Hamidgam Project published Saturday night on Channel Ten show that while Likud maintains a slim lead in the polls, the Prime Minister's approval ratings have dropped significantly. 

Likud received 24 seats in the survey, with Labor-Hatnua following closely behind with 23. Trailing in the third position with 13 mandates was Jewish Home, with the United Arab List close behind in fourth place with 12 seats. 

Centrist parties Yesh Atid and Kulanu followed with 11 and 8 mandates, respectively. Tied at seven mandates were haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism. 

Rounding out the survey was Yisrael Beytenu at six seats, Meretz with five, and Yachad-Ha'am Itanu with four. 

However, another survey found that public satisfaction with the Prime Minister dropped sharply from 5.0 on February 14 to 4.8 on February 20. Netanyahu has fallen to third place in this category, behind Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett. 

Netanyahu was also placed in fifth place in the survey for which political leader is the most honest, with only 9 percent of respondents naming him. 

Additionally, the gap between voters' choice of candidate for Prime Minister has narrowed significantly. 39 percent of voters believe Netanyahu is the preferred man for the job, but Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog follows closely with 35%. 

On hand during television program "Central Headquarters" to discuss the results of the polls were Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) and Hatnua MK Amir Peretz. 

Shalom defended his party and said the so-called damage to Likud and Netanyahu could only be seen in this current survey and was not reflective of greater Likud constituents. 

Peretz, who is running on the joint Labor-Hatnua list for the 20th Knesset, countered by saying, "I live in the vicinity of Likud supporters…and I feel that there is disgust with Netanyahu. I'm not saying they have changed sides, I argue that they do not want to vote."

The former Labor chairman added that one reason for the public's lack of confidence in Netanyahu is poor economic policy.

"When Netanyahu took office for the first time, a young couple needed 84 [monthly] salaries to buy an apartment. Now that number is closer to 170 salaries. This is proof of Netanyahu's failure." 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191648

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