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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘polls’

Polls and Flying Pigs

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Two new polls are being widely quoted in the media as showing that Israelis — even voters for  right-wing parties — want to make a two-state deal with the Palestinians. For example, Barak Ravid writes in Ha’aretz [subscription],

Two opinion surveys conducted by different Israeli pollsters in December show that most Likud-Beiteinu and the further-right Habayit Hayehudi voters would support a peace agreement establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, Israel’s retention of major settlement blocs and a division of Jerusalem. The two polls also revealed that two thirds of all Israelis support such an agreement…

The Abraham Center commissioned parallel polls from Mina Tzemach’s Dahaf and from pollster Rafi Smith on the Israeli public’s views about peace with the Palestinians. The firms were aware of each other’s polls. Each poll asked one question: If the government of Israel presented a public referendum on a peace agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to be implemented only after the Palestinians held up all the obligations at their end, especially the war on terror, and the United States approved of the agreement, would you support it or not?

The principles of the agreement as presented to respondents were for two states – Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinians, with Palestinian refugees having the right to return only to their new country. The Palestinian state would be demilitarized and its boundaries would be based on the 1967 lines with exchanges of equal-sized territory. Those exchanges would take into consideration Israel’s security needs and would retain the large settlement blocs in Israeli hands…

When it came to the general public, Mina Tzemach’s poll revealed that 67 percent supported such an agreement and 21 percent opposed it, while Rafi Smith’s poll showed 68 percent in favor and 25 percent against. The surveys found that the general public’s support for the agreement rose to 75 percent (Dahaf ) and 80 percent (Rafi Smith ) when augmented by various other “improvements” such as a defense alliance with the United Sates, disarmament of Hamas and an end to its rule in Gaza, and Arab states’ willingness to enact full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Does this mean, as the Left suggests, that it is the intransigence of the Netanyahu government that is holding Israel back from making peace? Does it mean that with a little more pressure from the US, such an agreement is possible?

Of course not. What it means is that Israelis really, really want peace and most would give up territory in return, if peace were attainable by doing so.

The poll question presumes that the PLO state would be demilitarized and the Palestinians would “hold up all their obligations [first].” How demilitarization could be enforced and how the Palestinians could be prevented from violating the agreement — as they have violated almost every agreement they made with Israel since 1993 — are not specified. As for the idea that Hamas would disarm and give up control of Gaza, it’s far more likely that Hamas will end up in control of Judea and Samaria too.

In addition to the practical issues above, the question assumes that the Palestinians would sincerely agree to Israel retaining the settlement blocs, to demilitarization, to abandoning their demand for ‘right of return’, to recognizing Israel as the state of the Jewish people, etc., when they have consistently rejected these ideas when presented as concrete peace proposals. Polls among Palestiniansconsistently show that they support violent ‘resistance’ until Israel has been replaced by an Arab state.

An acquaintance called this an “if pigs could fly poll.” There is as little chance of the conditions being fulfilled as there being a porcine airlift, so it has no real-world application, except insofar as it shows that even right-wing Israelis dream of peace. But we knew that.

Yet another recent poll, also conducted by Dr. Mina Tzemach, showed that 83% of Israelis believe that withdrawal to pre-1967 boundaries wouldn’t bring peace. That is why they vote for the Likud and rightward.

So why the flying pigs? The Ha’aretz article linked above helps us understand:

The polls were commissioned by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington D.C. Abraham, who made his fortune with Slim-Fast diet products, is considered a major contributor and close to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is also known to be close to President Shimon Peres and to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. However, Abraham has met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on almost every visit to Israel over the past four years.

The Abraham Center is headed by former Congressman Robert Wexler, who is close to President Barack Obama and was very active in the latter’s recent presidential campaign. According to one assessment, Wexler may be appointed to a senior position in the Obama administration in the coming months.

It tells us that the Obama Administration has not given up on its plan to create a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and to divide Jerusalem. Just wait: the poll will be presented as ‘proof’ that the majority of Israelis want it to!

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Are You Poll Fooled?

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Fooled by this poll?

Poll: Most right-wing Israelis would support Palestinian state, division of Jerusalem The principles of the agreement as presented to respondents were for two states – Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinians, with Palestinian refugees having the right to return only to their new country.

(Molad, the group behind this latest left-wing progressive poll, is a regurgitation other Israel-bashing bullies such as Breaking the Silence, Sheikh Jarah Solidarity, et al. with Avrum Burg which ‘merits’ the worship of Haaretz providing their headline status.)

But didn’t we just read that 67% of Israelis won’t divide Jerusalem? And didn’t we read this:

The May (five months ago!) data is from Tel Aviv University’s Walter Lebach Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence…  Some findings:
80 percent of Israelis don’t believe it’s possible to make peace with the Palestinians. Half of them don’t believe it’s ever possible to make peace, while half don’t believe it’s possible in the foreseeable future. About two-thirds support a diplomatic solution, but many more still eagerly buy the convenient argument that there’s no partner.
-Only about 20 percent of secular Jews see the demographic threat as an existential problem and only one-third believe the occupation and the settlements are creating a security threat to Israel.
- Nearly half the respondents consider Palestinian terror a major security problem;
Within the Green Line, the number who consider themselves rightists or right-leaning has increased from 41 percent to 48 percent

Previously in 2008, there was this:

Two-thirds of Israelis support a total or partial resumption of building communities in Judea and Samaria, according to a poll broadcast on Wednesday, as peace talks are due to restart in Washington.

Israpundit reminds us of this poll this past June:

A new poll shows a solid majority of Israelis – 64% – supports the continuation of the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria. The remaining 36% support a temporary freeze on Jewish construction there or a complete freeze of construction. While these numbers are unchanged from last year, this year’s poll shows a small increase compared to last year in the percentages of Israelis who think Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is a “truly Zionist deed” (64%) and that Judea and Samaria are the country’s security belt (57%)

You should be interested in this late 2010 survey in which respondents were asked (among many others) the following two questions:

“If during peace talks, Israel succeeds in reaching a permanent peace with the Palestinians that is backed by the United States and includes the evacuation of all of the settlements in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, in your opinion, should Israel sign or not sign such an agreement?”

And “if it includes only the evacuation of the settlements and territories […] that are outside the large settlement blocs, since the large blocs would remain in Israeli hands, in your opinion should Israel sign or not sign the agreement?”

The answers:

A large majority (72%) favors such negotiations, but only 33% think they are likely to bear fruit.   Is there a price for extending the construction freeze? A clear majority (74%) supports Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a condition for extending the building freeze in the settlements…

Is there a price for peace? In return for a permanent peace with the Palestinians backed by the United States, half of the Jewish public are willing to evacuate settlements that lie beyond the large settlement blocs (a minority of 43% oppose this). However, only a minority (28%) thinks Israel should sign such an agreement and pay for it by evacuating all of the settlements in the territories (a majority of 65% oppose such an evacuation).

This past April,  in response to a question about the urgency of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace,

58% of the Jewish respondents and 51% of the Arab respondents defined the issue as urgent or very urgent. At the same time, 58% of the Jewish interviewees and 61% of the Arab ones saw no chance of ending the conflict in accordance with the “two states for two peoples” formula at the present time.

And earlier in January, it was found that

a large majority (76%) preferring that Israel remain a country with a Jewish majority, with one-quarter preferring that Israel continue to rule all of the Land of Israel west of the Jordan. Asked how they would respond if they knew that “continued Israeli rule over the West Bank would lead to one state for Jews and Arabs in the entire Land of Israel that would not have a Jewish majority,” the majority (63%) answered that in this case they would oppose continued rule in the territories. However, the majority (54%) did not agree with the claim that continued rule in the territories will result in a country without a Jewish majority. Some 54% believe that continued rule in the territories will not prevent Israel from remaining a Jewish and democratic state. In other words, the public indeed prefers that Israel be a Jewish state over continued rule over the whole Land of Israel, but most of it does not believe there is a contradiction between the two objectives.

Weekly Poll Average: Right Leading with 67.5 Seats

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The right of center parties continue to maintain their lead, albeit by a slightly smaller margin in eight polls released December 9-15 (from Haaretz, Walla, Yisrael Hayom, Reshet Bet, Knesset Channel, Maariv, Yediot Achronot, Jerusalem/Yisrael Post).

Current Knesset seats in [brackets], with the previous week’s average in (brackets):

37.3 (37.7) [42] Likud Beitenu
18.2 (19.7) [08] Labor
11.3 (11.3) [05] Jewish Home-National Union
10.8 (10.5) [10] Shas
9.1 (8.2) [07] Movement (Livni)
8.7 (7.3) [--] Yesh Atid
5.8 (5.7) [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
4.1 (3.6) [04] Ra’am-Ta’al
4.0 (3.6) [03] Meretz
3.8 (3.5) [04] Hadash
3.1 (3.0) [03] Balad
1.1 (2.2) [01] Am Shalem
1.1 (1.6) [28] Kadima
0.7 (1.6) [02] Strong Israel
— (0.0) [05] Independence (No longer running)
HaYisraelim (2 seats in one poll)

67.5 (69.2) [65] Right
52.4 (50.7) [55] Left

Notable changes over the last two weeks: Ra’am-Ta’al passes Meretz for 8th place. Kadima passes Strong Israel for 13th place.

Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 1.4 seats and Movement gained 0.9.
Biggest Losses:
Labor lost 1.5 seats and Am Shalem lost 1.1.

Note: These polls were taken prior to Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Leiberman’s indictment and resignation as Foreign Minister.

Visit KnessetJeremy.com.

Israeli Poll Avg: Jewish Home and Livni Ahead, Right Holding Strong

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Here’s the Knesset Jeremy weekly poll average  from the week of Dec. 2-8, of 8 different polls (2 Panels, 2 Dialogue, 2 Maagar Mochot, Fox, Meno Geva). The current number of Knesset seats for each group is in [brackets], with the previous week’s average in (brackets):

37.7 (37.5) [42] Likud Beitenu

19.7 (19.2) [08] Labor

11.3 (09.8) [05] Jewish Home-National Union

10.5 (11.7) [10] Shas

8.2 (7.8) [07] The Movement (Livni)

7.3 (8.0) [--] Yesh Atid

5.7 (5.5) [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

3.6 (4.1) [03] Meretz

3.6 (3.5) [04] Ra’am-Ta’al

3.5 (4.0) [04] Hadash

3.0 (3.1) [03] Balad

2.2 (3.0) [01] Am Shalem

1.6 (1.4) [02] Strong Israel

1.6 (0.8) [28] Kadima

0.0 (0.0) [05] Independence

69.2 (69.1) [65] Right

50.7 (50.8) [55] Left

Changes from week 8 to week 9:

Jewish Home passes Shas for 3rd place.

The Movement passes Yesh Atid for 5th place.

Ra’am-Ta’al passes Hadash for 9th place.

Note: This will be the last week Independence was polled. On Thursday they decided not to run in the elections.

Visit KnessetJeremy.com.

Rivlin: Knesset Must Regulate Politicians’ Ability to Switch Parties

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin (Likud) criticized the practice of switching between parties by various Members of Knesset and Knesset candidates , calling on the next Knesset to regulate such behavior, Israel’s Channel 10 website reported.

“We need to ask ourselves what is transpiring in our political culture,” Rivlin said. “To my regret, what was in the past an exception, has in recent days become routine and accepted behavior.”

“The next Knesset must answer to the constitutional and democratic question: can a candidate that competed in the primaries of one party join soon after in another party?”

The latest candidate to switch parties was former Labor Chairman Amir Peretz who just resigned from Labor and will be joining Tzipi Livni’s party, “The Movement,” as the second candidate on that party’s list after Livni herself.

Peretz claims that one of the reasons for his leaving the Labor party was that its new chairman, Shelly Yachamovitch has not publicly ruled out the possibility of joining a government with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many members of Kadima have either resigned or have also left their party for Livni’s new party in recent days.

In the Israeli political system, to be elected to the Knesset a candidate must win a secure spot in a party slate or start a new party himself.  Running with a party on a spot below the number of seats polls show that party will receive is political suicide.

Many polls show that Kadima will not pass the voting threshold and will not have any seats in the next Knesset.

Israel’s Political Map As Confusing As Ever

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

JERUSALEM – While it is almost certain that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next Israeli coalition government, the country’s confusing electoral system has created another medley of instant political parties headed by a variety of media celebrities and scorned politicians.

After a six-month absence from politics following her ouster as Kadima Party leader by former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has returned to the political fray as head of a new centrist party, Hatenuah (the Movement). She is in line to win up to nine seats in the upcoming elections, according to the latest polls.

Livni is likely to compete for support within the ideologically middle political ground with the revamped Labor Party, led by former journalist Shelly Yachimovich, and former TV talk show host Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid (There’s a Future) Party.

For its part, the Mofaz-led Kadima, with the current Knesset’s largest faction (28 seats), is not expected to win any seats come January, according to the latest surveys.

Netanyahu’s mounting economic and foreign policy problems have impacted his united Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu electoral faction, as many nationalistic and centrist voters are leaning toward supporting some of the overhauled or new political factions. The latest Smith Research poll, conducted for The Jerusalem Post and the Globes business daily, found that the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu list will receive no more than 37 Knesset mandates, down from their current combined total of 42.

But the newly constituted Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Party, which absorbed the National Religious Party/National Union and is now led by former hi-tech mogul and Yesha Council executive Naftali Bennett, has the potential to secure 11 Knesset seats (up from seven), according to the Smith Research poll. The nationalist, pro-settler Bayit Yehudi Party will almost certainly be a key member of Netanyahu’s expected new coalition government.

Another key coalition member, the Sephardic Shas Party, could be hampered by the return of party leader Aryeh Deri after a 13-year absence due to a bribery conviction and jail sentence while serving as interior minister and the emergence of current Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem’s breakaway Am Shalem (Entire Nation) Sephardic faction. Rabbi Amsalem has publicly said that he would like to participate in forming the next government, even though his fledgling party is anticipated to receive only three or four Knesset seats, as per most polls.

Lapid, claiming that his Yesh Atid party is not “leftist,” is reported to have put out feelers to Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beiteinu’s leader, in an effort to portray his party as a potential coalition partner as well. Yesh Atid is projected to capture 10-12 Knesset seats.

Yachimovich’s revitalized Labor Party appears to be in line to become the nation’s opposition voice, as the center-left faction could receive 20 or more Knesset seats.

According to all polls, there will be almost no change in the number of seats (currently five) now held by United Torah Judaism. Despite the fact that the haredi community represents the fastest-growing segment of Israeli society, infighting between the various Litvish and chassidic courts have soured many frum voters from the idea of voting for United Torah Judaism.

A Big-Time Pollster In The Making?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I come across Yair Michaeli standing amid the bustle of an Israeli shopping mall, a clipboard in his hand. He appears to be a serious-minded Israeli haredi. What is he doing in a place like this?

Yair, a 22-year-old graduate of prestigious Lithuanian and Sephardic yeshivot, is a licensed realtor but hopes one day to be the man all Israeli politicians turn to at election time – the premier pollster of Israeli politics.

“I was always interested in politics, even as a child,” says Yair. “First I made personal connections with all the haredi and religious parties and their leaders. Eventually I became interested in all the parties. Israeli politics is an amazing mix of personalities, ideologies and sheer energy. It is the most fascinating political process in the world, without a doubt.”

“So,” I ask him, “what is your method for polling?”

“As you know,” he replies, “there are many others working in the field, and there is no shortage of polls. First I gather all the recent polls done by other groups and factor the results together, arriving at an average score for each party running. Then I use my own special method.”

“Which is what?” I ask.

“Other pollsters try to get a random sampling of the population based on all kinds of statistical models. Then they call people on the phone. However, many people when polled by telephone don’t respond seriously. Sometimes the questions don’t resonate. So the results are inaccurate. What I do is more down to earth. I choose a sampling of locations and take my teams directly to places where people naturally come together. There we ask the relevant questions face to face. People get to consider the questions carefully and ask for explanations or clarifications.”

I look at him questioningly. “Is this really a superior method?”

“In a face-to-face encounter you can always see if someone is being serious with you or not,” he sys. “Sometimes people share their thoughts and feelings, and we take special note of this information. After tabulating the responses, we can see how far our results correlate with or diverge from the other polls. Sometimes there are big differences, which make us go back and retry our polling method. When we retry several times and our results remain consistent, we know we are on to something important which the other pollsters might have missed.”

As the Israeli election draws near, Yair works almost around the clock. He visits population centers and party activists. He is always eager to share his unique insights.

“In this upcoming election,” he says, “there are several new parties that have entered the race. This happens every election and ordinarily it is not statistically significant. New independent parties don’t usually register with Israeli voters. Most successful politicians have his or her power base in some pre-existing social context. This means that in Israeli politics the people end up getting more of the same old stuff term after term. But this time around it seems that something fundamental has shifted in voters’ attitudes. People are tired of running over the same ineffectual solutions time and time again. There is a breath of fresh air blowing this time, and I believe that at least one independent party has a fighting chance of getting into the next Knesset.”

“Which party is that?” I ask.

“The Calcala Party,” he responds. “But of course there are still lots of polls to be taken between now and Election Day, and Calcala has an uphill battle ahead of it.”

I ask him to sum up his own personal and professional goals.

“First, my goal is to provide accurate information to the politicians I consider worthy of my help. Second, I intend to become the main pollster for the Israeli political system.”

“You seem pretty confident,” I tell him.

“Yes, I’m confident I can do it. How? Well, if after the upcoming elections it turns out my polls were the most accurate at predicting the various parties’ performance, that will pretty much seal the matter.”

Maybe a little too skeptically, I press him: “So you really think you can pull this off?”

He replies with a smile: “Time will tell, time will tell.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-big-time-pollster-in-the-making/2012/11/28/

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