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Poll Shows Labor Leading Likud in Public Opinion by 7-vote Margin

The latest public opinion poll gives the Labor Party only a seven seat edge over Likud if Knesset elections were to be held now. But Labor Party leader Shimon Peres seems to be the overwhelming choice of the electorate to head the next government.

Such polls are conducted several times a year to gauge the relative popularity of the various political parties. And with national elections slated for next fall, the results of these surveys are of more than academic interest.

The latest poll, conducted by the Modi’in Ezrachi organization during the second half of November, found that Labor would win 45 Knesset seats to 38 for Likud, according to the results published in Maariv Sunday.

This is far from sufficient for a governing majority in the 120-member Knesset. The outlook would be for another coalition regime, either a renewal of the present Labor-Likud power-sharing arrangement or a coalition formed by one of the major parties in alliance with the smaller parties.

In that case, Likud would stand the best chance of forming a coalition, because its loss of votes was not to Labor but to parties further to the right.

The poll found that the public, by a 43-18 percent margin, considers Foreign Minister Peres better suited than Premier Yitzhak Shamir, the Likud leader, to be the next prime minister. Peres led Shamir by 14.2-10.4 percent as choice for foreign minister.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a Laborite, is far ahead of potential rivals for the office. He was selected over Likud’s Ariel Sharon by a 49.7-17.1 percent margin. Moshe Arens of Likud, another former defense minister, was the choice of only 11.8 percent of the respondents.

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