TEL AVIV (Nov. 2)
A public opinion poll taken in mid-October showed that Likud has gained slightly in popularity and the Labor Party correspondingly declined. But a strong centrist third party would be a serious threat to the Likud government, according to the survey conducted by Dr. Mina Zemach for Monitin magazine.
If elections were held now, Likud would win 59 Knesset seats and Labor 40 seats, the poll showed. A similar poll conducted for Monitin in September gave Likud 55 seats and Labor 43. The other parties registered only minor changes or none at all between the two polls.
But a new centrist party would win 14 seats in elections now if it included on its list former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, and six seats without Weizman. Most of those gains would be at the expense of the Likud-led coalition, political observers say. Weizman broke with Likud before the 1981 elections because of sharp policy differences with Premier Menachem Begin. He has not been politically active since then.
The latest poll showed a slight drop in the popularity of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.