According to news reports, internal polls conducted by both the Likud and its opposition, the Labor-led Zionist Camp, show the Likud trailing the challenger far more dramatically than any of the published polls have shown.
Internal polls are more expensive and go into greater depth than the standard daily polls sponsored by media outlets.
A March 1 report in Haaretz (Hebrew, paywall) quoted unnamed Likud campaign sources who said their polling indicated that widespread apathy among Likud voters would depress turnout. They calculated that the Likud was on track to end up with as few as 18 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
More recently, Walla News reported (Hebrew) March 9 on internal Zionist Camp polling seemingly confirming what the Likud’s polls showed. It found the Herzog-Livni campaign with a six-seat lead over the Likud, winning 27 Knesset seats to the Likud’s 21.
Most campaign punditry has focused on the fact that with Netanyahu and Herzog running neck-and-neck in the polls, Netanyahu would have an easier time than Herzog wooing the smaller centrist parties into a coalition. Herzog’s sole hope of forming a government was said to be the unlikely prospect that he would end up with a significant lead over Netanyahu, allowing him to conduct tough negotiations with the centrists while Netanyahu was left watching from the sidelines. With a week remaining before the vote, that prospect is looking at least a bit less unlikely.
– Read more: The ‘Perfect Storm’ That’s Hitting Bibi’s Campaign – J.J. Goldberg, The Jewish Daily FORWARD