2015 Knesset Jeremy Election Phase 2 Prediction Analysis

Publisher’s note: Knesset Jeremy has agreed to allow us to publish his detailed analysis as we head into the final phases of this election cycle.

Guest post by Knesset Jeremy. Follow his blog at http://knessetjeremy.com/

2015 Knesset Jeremy Election Phase 2 Prediction Analysis

The two most likely scenarios for Phase 2:

Possible Netanyahu Phase 2:

Seats Party
22 Likud
12 Bayit Yehudi
9 Kulanu
7 Shas
7 UTJ
5 Yisrael Beitenu
4 Yachad
66 TOTAL

Possible Herzog Phase 2:

Seats Party
25 Zionist Union
12 The Joint (Arab) List
12 Yesh Atid
9 Kulanu
5 Meretz
63 TOTAL

Timeline between Phase 1 and 2, and exactly how Phase 2 works:

Today at 10 PM Israel time the voting will end and election polls will be closed. Those who enter the polling station before 10 PM will still be allowed to vote. Each of the 10,119 polling stations across 3,200 sites will have a committee of three people, representing three different parties and those three people will tally the votes by hand. The party representatives will text the results to their headquarters so that the Party Leaders know the results before the television journalists. The official results will be entered into the computer and published on the Central Elections Committee website http://bechirot.gov.il/ as the night goes on.

The focus will be on the exit polls until the middle of the night when a good percentage of the vote will have been counted. By the morning we should have most of the votes in and the Phase 1 results should be rather clear. The “double-envelope” votes will not be included in these initial results. These are votes by citizens who voted overseas or in Israeli army bases, specialized handicap stations, hospitals, jails or polling station committee members. These votes will be counted afterwards in the Knesset itself. Expect a slight shift of a seat-or-two in the final Phase 1 results after the double-envelope votes are counted.

Phase 2: The newly elected Knesset will be sworn in on March 31st. We will not have a government, but we should know who will get the first crack at putting together a government by that date. President Rivlin is expected to meet with the Knesset factions in an official capacity on March 24th, but he is most likely going to already start working unofficial channels after the election results are clear.

The law for some reason does not take the size of a party into account. The law requires President Rivlin to sit with all of the newly elected lists before making a decision on who should get the first crack at forming a new government. President Rivlin is looking to pressure all of the parties to make a decision, but most likely he will not need to. The last time someone didn’t receive a majority of votes in Phase 2 or the first person to receive that nod was not able to form a government was back in the 1980s. Historically, the issue that forced national unity governments was that the two largest parties had too many seats and it was impossible to form a coalition with the few small parties that passed the threshold in lower single-digits. This all changed with the rise of the middle-sized “kingmaker” parties. The unofficial negotiations that are conducted between Phase 1 and Phase 2 have always enabled one of the Prime Minister candidates to reach enough support to get the first crack.

Prediction:

Bottom line my prediction is that it will not be in President Rivlin’s hands. Someone is going to get a majority. The President has also made it clear that he will do everything in his power to force the parties to make a choice and not drag it out.

The parties visit the President in order of party size. Zionist Union will nominate Herzog. Likud will nominate Netanyahu. The Joint List party head who is from Hadash will nominate Herzog but the leaders of Ra’am and Balad will warn President Rivlin that their list head is not speaking for all of the parties on the list. By law Rivlin will count The Joint List’s votes but will take Ra’am and Balad into account to determine “who has the best chance at forming a coalition” in the event no one gets 61 seats. Yesh Atid will nominate Herzog. Bayit Yehudi will nominate Netanyahu. I predict this is where Rivlin will call it a day for the first day of deliberations.

I expect President Rivlin to start Day 2 of Phase 2 with Kahlon. Kahlon can go either way, but my feeling is that because Trajtenberg and Lapid are above him on the Finance Ministry Portfolio list that Kahlon goes with Netanyahu who had already offered him that position. I could be wrong here but it just seems like Herzog will have a tough job giving Kahlon a competitive offer compared to Netanyahu. I expect both UTJ and Shas to nominate Netanyahu again in return for Haredi funding and the sorts. It is possible that one of the parties in UTJ will not be happy with the Phase 2 decision to nominate Netanyahu.

Liberman might nominate himself to get out of Rivlin’s pressure tactics. He is capable of doing this, but most likely it is an empty threat to milk a better deal out of Netanyahu. Yisrael Beitenu showed their right-wing colors at the right’s rally yesterday and Liberman’s top campaign promises include killing jailed terrorists. This is not exactly the type of thing that you see from a candidate that is angling for a Herzog government invitation. Liberman prefers a national-unity-government but will most likely go for Netanyahu when he sees it is unlikely to happen. Meretz will endorse Herzog and Yachad will endorse Netanyahu. I expect Rivlin to officially give Netanyahu the first crack at a new coalition next weekend.

Netanyahu is going to have problems forming coalition agreements with six additional parties and the people are going to question the legitimacy of a government where the largest party once again does not rule the country. That is our system. It is possible Netanyahu doesn’t reach Phase 3 and that Herzog gets a nod to be the second person to try Phase 2, although I doubt it. It is because of this scenario (and others), that I am going to hold off on my Phase 3 predictions until after the official election results. Of course if Herzog scores the Kahlon nominating some how, he will get the first crack at forming a government.

I want to thank Five Thirty Eight for their interview with me that was released today, to the Huffington Post for using my model as their basis, the many publications that have been linking and crediting my site including the Washington Post and Jerusalem Post. I have started to commit to media appearances tomorrow and others who are interested know how to get in touch.

To all of my loyal readers in Israel – Please exercise your democratic right and vote!

Share this on:

2015 Knesset Jeremy Election Phase 1 Prediction Analysis

Publisher’s note: Knesset Jeremy has agreed to allow us to publish his detailed analysis as we head into the final phases of this election cycle.

Guest post by Knesset Jeremy. Follow his blog at http://knessetjeremy.com/

2015 Knesset Jeremy Election Phase 1 Prediction Analysis

The Knesset Jeremy Model Prediction for 2015:

Party Seats
Zionist Union 25
Likud 22
The Joint (Arab) List 12
Yesh Atid 12
Bayit Yehudi 12
Kulanu 9
Shas 7
UTJ 7
Yisrael Beitenu 5
Meretz 5
Yachad 4

Few quick notes:

*For those who are wondering, I am expecting a 2-seat margin of error for the larger parties and a 1-seat margin of error for the smaller parties.

*Additionally, there is an indication that many undecided voters will simply end up not voting in this election over choosing a party.

Phase 1 Recap:

#1 – Zionist Union 25 seats:
Background: If you would have told me that the Zionist Union would be the largest list when the election cycle started, I probably would have looked at you funny. That is because it didn’t exist. To be honest, when Opposition Leader Herzog announced he was running for Prime Minister, few people took him seriously, myself included. Labor was averaging third place in the polls, behind the Bayit Yehudi, with 13.4 seats in Week 1, down from the 15 seats Shelly Yachmovich captured in 2013. Meanwhile, Tzipi Livni was polling under the electoral threshold and all of her MKs were looking for their next jobs, negotiating with other parties.

Best Move: Herzog’s decision to save Tzipi Livni’s political career. Word in the Knesset is Livni got her Prime Minister Rotation deal because Herzog was more desperate to make a splash, and Lapid passed because he thought he could snag Kahlon. Labor MKs were furious with the Herzog-Livni deal that left them less spots to compete for in the primary, but knew that voicing their frustrations would make their political survival even more difficult, so they swallowed it.

Before the last elections Livni convinced seven MKs to break off from Kadima to form her party. Her party got six seats, but six of those seven MKs lost their jobs due to low placement on the list that they created for her. Livni knew that Amir Peretz was already on his way back to Labor, following his resignation as a Minister in Netanyahu’s government, and abandoned the rest of her list to join Herzog.

Following the Herzog-Livni merger, the new Zionist Union became the largest list in the polls.

Worst Move: As Zionist Union’s numbers increased, Herzog’s biggest issue remained that many people cast doubt on his ability to form a government. Liberman won’t sit with Meretz, the Haredim won’t sit with Lapid, Kahlon won’t sit with the Arabs. Herzog had an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.

Eight of the eleven lists have a voter exchange agreement. Herzog failed miserably in an attempt to increase their bloc by getting The Joint List to sign a voter exchange agreement so Zionist Union could sign with Yesh Atid. Not only did this harm the seats total of two of the four lists that are part of the Anti-Netanyahu bloc, but it raised serious doubts of The Joint List’s ability to assist Herzog in other technical moves such as nominating him to President Rivlin in Phase 2 or the crucial Knesset vote in Phase 3. This was a leadership type situation in which he needed to prove he could overcome the odds and he was not successful.

Takeaway: Zionist Union has 21 seats together and is expected to win Phase 1 with 25, a simple increase of just four-seats. Livni does own six of those 25 seats and that is her leverage in case Herzog tries to get out of his rotation agreement.

#2 – Likud 22 seats:
Background: Benjamin Netanyahu has been Prime Minister for nine years. Only the country’s founder David Ben-Gurion has sat in that seat for longer. By now you know what you are going to get with Netanyahu, for better or for worse. Netanyahu became increasingly frustrated with his coalition partners following Foreign Minister Liberman’s decision to break up their joint faction. Eventually Netanyahu fired Lapid and Livni and we ended up with the second shortest Knesset in Israel’s history.

Best Move: Netanyahu is still the darling of the Israeli right by turning the election into game theory instead of issues. The slogan “It’s me or them” has been very successful in right-wing circles and has prevented his voters from realizing he hasn’t put out a platform or list of accomplishments on domestic issues. For many nationalists, the fear of a Herzog-Livni led government was enough for Netanyahu and the Likud to stay neck-and-neck with the Zionist Union for a majority of the campaign.

Of course giving a reserved slot to popular former Minister Benny Begin and son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin was a slam dunk with hardcore Likud voters. The “trade” of ultra-nationalist Moshe Feiglin for Begin was a move that allowed Netanyahu to appeal towards the center while maintaining his base.

Worst Move: A majority of Israelis answer they want Netanyahu for Prime Minister, but they have issues with the Likud. The Likud failed in its attempts to create an alliance first with Bayit Yehudi and later with Kulanu. Netanyahu has a track record for preferring alliances such as Likud-Gesher-Tzomet, Likud-Achi and Likud-Yisrael Beitenu over running alone. The failed attempt to bring in Kahlon which collapsed on the day of the deadline for submitting the final lists might go down in history as the moment that will haunt Netanyahu.

Takeaway: Likud, like the Zionist Union is expected to gain four-seats. The issue for Likud is that the Zionist Union started with 21 jumping to 25, while the Likud is increasing from 18 to 22.

#3 – The Joint List 12 seats:
Background: Four parties Hadash, Ra’am, Balad and Ta’al were facing the new electoral threshold of 3.25%. They knew that had to get together for a joint list but found it difficult to do so because of internal party issues and egos.

Best Move: Many questioned if it would be possible to have a list with communists, nationalists and religious Muslims on the same list. After four veteran MKs retired the four lists were able to agree on a joint list. All four parties will survive thanks to the technical bloc.

Worst Move: The infighting within the party prevented a vote exchange agreement which will cost them an additional seat. Their increased turnout would have a bigger impact if they were not just one of three lists without an agreement.

Takeaway: MK Tibi was smart to give up the #1 spot and take the #4 spot in return for that crucial #12 seat. This will be the first time Ta’al has 2 MKs.

#4 – Yesh Atid 12 seats:
Background: Yair Lapid went into this election as the largest party with 19 seats. However, Yesh Atid averaged as the sixth largest party with single digits at the start of the campaign cycle. Lapid, who entered politics just two years ago, kept most of his list in tact by choosing just two new names for his top 12. Three MKs made it easy on him by agreeing to retire.

Best Move: Lapid’s campaign took off once he made clear that he plans to stand up against the Haredim. Lapid doubled down on this approach when he tore apart Aryeh Deri during The Debate. People who voted for Lapid in 2013 and had sworn to themselves for the last two years that they would never vote for him again have suddenly decided to return to Yesh Atid because of the Haredim.

Worst Move: Not running on a joint ticket. Lapid passed on Livni, flirted with Liberman and struck out with Kahlon. If Lapid would have signed with one of them, it is very possible it would be Lapid fighting Netanyahu for the Prime Minister chair. Instead Lapid will settle for the consolation prize of hoping for third place.

Takeaway: Despite dropping from 19 seats to 12, Lapid intends to force Herzog’s hand to drop Manuel Trajtenberg and hand him the Finance Minister position because Lapid will have more seats than Kahlon.

#5 – Bayit Yehudi 12 seats:
Background: Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi entered Week 1 as the second largest party with a 16.6 average. Bayit Yehudi was polling consistently as the second largest party in the country in the six months leading up to this campaign cycle.

Best Move: Open Primaries. Bayit Yehudi dropped to third place following the Zionist Union merger, but maintained an average of 15-16 seats in the polls consistently due to the buzz of the only open primary of the campaign season. Just three of the eleven parties have primary elections to choose their list. Bayit Yehudi was the only party this cycle to allow new members to join and vote for their list. A field of new candidates contributed to the spectrum of debate in the primary.

Worst Move: Eli Ochana. Reserved slots are used to balance out a list. It appeared like the Bayit Yehudi list was lacking that right-wing, traditional but not too religious, and from a Sephardic background. Apparently Eli Ochana was the wrong call.

Takeaway: Despite polling as the second largest party for the six months leading up into the election, the current average has Bayit Yehudi repeating its previous 12 seat performance.

#6 – Kulanu 9 seats:
Background: Moshe Kahlon flirted with the idea of starting a new party in the previous election but decided he would wait for the following election so he could be the next “Yair Lapid”. He flirted with joining Lapid and later Netanyahu before deciding to run by himself.

Best Move: Kingmaker attitude. His poker-face on Phase 2 along with his ability to stick to domestic issues has helped him throughout this campaign. Making it clear he is running to be Finance Minister has drawn the interest of many Israelis who believe in his Housing Plan.

Worst Move: Amateurish technical moves. Kahlon didn’t bother to check if there was another party registered with the name Kulanu. The “Na Nach” Breslov Hasidim Party knows as Kulanu Chevraim (we are all friends) registered the party name to run in these elections again, a day before Kahlon. Kahlon had to negotiate with a no-name party for the rights to use the party name he had already unveiled. Kahlon also had to give up on two candidates from his party list because he forgot to tell them to resign in time from their government jobs in time to qualify to run in these elections. You have to feel bad for the poor candidates, although one did benefit from the mass exposure of a press conference.

Takeaway: Moshe Kahlon who succeeded in taking seats from everybody is going to be in the next government as a senior minister, no matter what.

#7 – Shas 7 seats:
Background: The leadership trio of the previous election broke up when Aryeh Deri took the reins of Shas. Ariel Attias left politics and Eli Yishai opted to break off to start his own party.

Best Move: Endorsing Netanyahu for Prime Minister. Deri prefers Herzog, but his voters prefer Netanyahu. Committing to backing Netanyahu for Phase 2 has helped Shas rebound from a very tough campaign.

Worst Move: Performance on the Debate. Yair Lapid ripped Deri apart and almost brought him to tears when he called him a convicted felon who needs to be rehabilitated. Eli Yishai also hammered Deri hard on the content of the leaked tapes and scored a few brownie points.

Takeaway: In a campaign cycle where Shas fell under the threshold early, Deri is proud to drop just four seats and get away with seven seats.

#8 – UTJ 7 seats:
Background: UTJ decided to run the same seven people for the top seven seats again.
Best Move: They had entertaining television advertisements and turning their campaign into the anti-Lapid campaign helped morale among those who don’t have a television.

Worst Move: Not reaching a deal with splinter groups within Ashkanazi Jewry, both Lithuanian and Hasidic sects, that will probably take their votes elsewhere or remain home on Tuesday.

Takeaway: It is all about turnout for UTJ on Election Day with the goal of maintaining their strength.

#9 – Yisrael Beitenu 5 seats
Background: Yisrael Beitenu went into the election with five ministers and 13 seats.

Best Move: Placing popular MK Orly Levy in the #2 position on the list. She is a very popular among the public, but more importantly among the other parties MKs and staff in the Knesset.

Worst Move: Corruption scandals and loss of right flank of the party. It wasn’t just the corruption scandals that plagued the party but the loss of the right-wing side of the party – Ministers Shamir, Landau and Chairman Rotem.

Takeaway: With a loss of eight seats Yisrael Beitenu will be remembered as the loser of this election. Perhaps Liberman regrets his decision to not allow the Haredim to join the government after Netanyahu fired Lapid and Livni.

#10 – Meretz 5 seats
Background: Meretz jumped from 3 to 6 seats in the 2013 election and sat in their usual place in the opposition throughout another term.

Best Move: Clearly articulating that Herzog is not ruling out sitting with Netanyahu in Phase 3 to prevent bleeding to the Zionist Union.

Worst Move: A complicated closed process for selecting their Knesset list by Central Committee instead of an open primary kept Meretz under the radar during the drama of primaries in some parties and new stars being added in others.

Takeaway: Despite polling at four seats in many polls, Meretz had a good week in the last week of polling and should be able to pass the threshold if nothing changes before Election Day.

#11 – Yachad 4 seats
Background: Shas MK Eli Yishai needed a new political home after fighting with Deri and so did Bayit Yehudi MK Yoni Chetboun after he went against Bennett on the new party constitution. Certain Rabbis such as Rabbi Lior and Rabbi Tau were looking for a new Torani political movement to arise.

Best Move: Signing a technical bloc with Baruch Marzel allowed them to pass the threshold.

Worst Move: Signing a technical bloc with Baruch Marzel prevented them from reaching out to more moderate voters.

Takeaway: They should be able to squeak by and pass the electoral threshold.

Share this on:

Project 61 publishes final predictions

Project 61, the statistical analysis project based on weighting poll results according to the past accuracy of each pollster and their individual skew per party, has released its predictions in the form of four scenarios.

The scenarios differ based on how the undecided voters vote, leading to the “surprise factor” that led, for example, to Yesh Atid’s whopping win last election and the Pensioners’ success in 2006.

Each scenario results in a different breakdown of the various blocs and therefore the coalition options.

Party 1: Likud Recovery 2: Kulanu Surprise 3: Mystery Surprise 4: No Surprise
Zionist Union 24 24 24 25
Likud 24 19 19 22
United Arab List 14 14 14 13
Bayit Yehudi 11 11 11 11
Yesh Atid 10 10 10 12
Kulanu 8 13 8 9
Shas 8 8 8 8
Yahadut Hatorah 7 7 7 6
Yisrael Beyteinu 5 5 5 5
Yachad 5 5 5 4
Meretz 4 4 4 5
Surprise 5
Bloc
Right 40 35 35 37
Left 28 28 28 30
Center 23 28 23 26
Haredim 15 15 15 14
Arabs 14 14 14 13
Surprise 5
Source (Hebrew): https://www.facebook.com/Project.61.IL
Share this on:

“Haaretz” poll: Labor leads, Yisrael Beyteinu close to electoral threshold

A Haaretz poll published today shows that Labor would win the most seats if the elections were held today.

Ben Bernstein comments:

Despite the fact that building a left wing coalition will not be easy for Herzog, he has to be thrilled with these poll results as his campaign looked dead in the water a month ago.

Another person who has to be happy is Moshe Kahlon whose Kulanu list gets 11 seats in the latest poll. As Kahlon sits on the right left divide, he would seem to be the kingmaker for who forms the next coalition and how that coalition would look.

Someone who willl be unhappy is FM Leiberman who is dangerously close to the electoral threshold.

The full results of the poll are as follows:

Seats Party
24 Labor
21 Likud
13 Joint Arab List
12  Yesh Atid
11 Habayit Hayehudi
11 Kulanu
7 Shas
6 Yahadut Hatorah
6 Meretz
5 Yachad
4 Yisrael Beyteinu
Source (Hebrew): http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/682/941.html
Share this on:

Left gains ground in latest poll

Yesh Atid and the rest of the center left bloc continues to grow stronger, according to today’s Knesset Channel poll, with the election just days away.

The “just not Bibi” bloc which is thought to consist of Labor, Meretz, United Arab List and Yesh Atid has a combined 56 seats out of a possible 120. It still seems unlikely that Herzog will be able to form a government but if the bloc was to reach 60 they most likely would be able to force a unity government with a rotation in the premiership.

On the other hand, Netanyahu’s potential narrow right wing coalition looks shakier than ever. Netanyahu cannot count on Yachad’s Baruch Marzel which would leave him with 63 seats and the possibility of any one party bolting the coalition to take down the government.

In this scenario, the most likely turn of events would be a unity government despite Netanyahu and Herzog admitting that neither is interested in this.

The full results of the poll are as follows:

Seats Party
24 Labor
21 Likud
14 Yesh Atid
13  United Arab List
12 Habayit Hayehudi
9 Kulanu
7 Shas
6 Yahadut Hatorah
5 Meretz
5 Yisrael Beyteinu
4 Yachad
Source (Hebrew): http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/682/341.html
Share this on: