Right Maintains Lead in Israeli Election Polls

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli dailies posted varying poll results Friday for the upcoming Jan.22 general elections, with the Right maintaining its lead and as many as 25 percent of voters still undecided.

A Maagar Mochot poll published by Maariv gives 38 mandates to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Likud-Beiteinu ticket, the highest prediction of any poll.

The results show the left-wing Labor Party winning 16 seats and former Kadima Party chairwoman Tzipi Livni's newly formed Hatnua Party garnering seven. Kadima topples from 28 seats in the current government to three.

Totals show the right-wing bloc winning 71 seats compared to 49 for the left-wing and Arab parties.

YNet headlined with a Dahaf Institute poll showing Likud-Beiteinu down to 33 mandates, and the Labor Party at 18.

Dahaf predicts Hatnua Party will capture 11 seats, down three from its earlier surveys, but one up from the survey published by Maariv.

And it shows political newcomer Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home Party (Habayit Hayehudi) winning 14 seats, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party and United Torah Judaism each down one.

A Smith Research poll published by The Jerusalem Post Friday shows Likud-Beiteinu at 34 seats and Habayit Hayehudi winning 14 mandates, which would make it the third largest party.

The Post quoted Likud coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin saying the national camp will join forces to prevent the left from regaining control.

"Right-wing voters are returning because they are starting to understand that in this election it is important to strengthen the Likud in the face of attempts by the Left to return to power and push Israel to divide Jerusalem and return to pre-1967 borders."

Netanyahu has called those borders "indefensible" and therefore unacceptable in any future deal with the Palestinian Authority. The prime minister also said Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of the Jewish state and promises Israel will not cede the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the Six Day War and annexed in 1981.

The Smith Research survey shows Livni's party down to eight seats and Labor winning 18. Analysts say Livni's failed attempt to unite the left-wing parties precipitated the drop.

Earlier polls showed a potential left-wing coalition closing the gap.

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