One of the lessons taken from this election, based on the results, is that the pollster companies hugely influence the decision of the voter.
People have often asked me, “James, what is the point of the survey companies?” I reply “two main reasons.”
First, to advise the political parties what the eligible voters plan to do on Election Day. Second, to inform the people, which parties are leading and which are struggling.
Pollsters, news outlets and political commentators like myself, have constantly talked about the surveys and published charts, which have an effect and we know it.
Blue and White, Labor, Meretz, Religious Zionists and Arab Ra’am, were all wavering on either side of the minimum threshold and may not have gained entry into the Knesset. Eligible voters saw these charts and heard the election news updates, and decided, at the last moment, to back the smaller parties.
In fact hundreds of thousands of voters hurried to their respective election stations and even at the point of standing in front of the large tray of party slips, they were still undecided.
Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan News, conducted various interviews with voters at election stations in Tel Aviv, generally a left wing city, and many reported, they were still unsure which party to back, as they stood glaring at the slips with an envelope in one hand.
I myself have done the same in previous years. We know which bloc we will vote for – left or right, religious or secular, but we are undecided if we should cast a ballot for the smaller or the larger party.
As it turned out, all of the five smaller parties crossed the minimum threshold of 3.25% and it has pretty much brought about a 50/50 split between the pro and anti-Netanyahu blocs.
Had Blue and White, Labor and Meretz, a total of 20 seats, failed to crossed the line, many of those seats, could have gone to Yesh Atid and may have brought another 12 seats, to Yair Lapid, putting him on the same number as Netanyahu’s Likud. But the people listened to the pollsters and decided, we cannot allow these smaller factions to disappear.
We must all remember, this is democracy at its best. The people have spoken. Many across the Middle East long for, not just something similar, but anything similar to the democratic voting process that Israel operates.
Despite three indictments against Binyamin Netanyahu, eligible voters still turned out to vote for the Likud party, because they see no other leader experienced and able enough to carry out the job of Prime Minister.
Likud have at least 12 seats ahead of its nearest rival Yesh Atid and that is, in Israeli terms, an election win for the Likud party. We therefore have to respect the decision of the people and prevent a fifth election at all costs.
The parties on the right including Gideon Saar’s New Hope which was really, Likud party “mark two”, was totally smashed. None of us expected he would finish so badly. His former Likud colleagues are now calling upon him to return to his “home – The Likud”.
Gideon Sa’ar needs to negotiate a portfolio for himself and maybe another for a colleague and we all need to save the country from spending another 675 million shekels on a fifth election.
The last election cost 392 million shekels, but because of the extra Covid voting booths and drive thru stations, the price has almost doubled.
Fun and games are over and it is now time to form a right wing religious government with Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, as per the results of the election.