Barak’s comeback hurts Bibi

Ehud Barak’s political comeback has sapped Israeli support for Benjamin Netanyahu, a poll found. According to Thursday’s survey in Yediot Achronot, were general elections held today, the center-left Labor Party under Barak, its new leader, would win 29 seats in the Knesset – well above its current 19. Netanyahu’s rightist Likud, meanwhile, would win 30 of the Knesset’s 120 seats. While that would be significantly more than the Likud’s current 12 seats, previous polls had projected Netanyahu making an even more robust showing given Israeli security jitters over the Lebanon war and the ascendancy of Hamas. Barak, like Netanyahu a former prime minister, won the Labor leadership vote on Monday pledging to “beat Bibi” in the next elections. The Yediot poll, which had 501 respondents and a 4.5 percent margin of error, also predicted that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s beleaguered centrist Kadima Party would take just 11 Knesset seats were elections held today, down from its current 29.

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