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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Israeli Polls Were Wrong -- So Was Obama

The Israelis held a national election on Tuesday.  The clear winner was the Likud party of prime minister Netanyahu.  With about 90% of the votes counted, Netanyahu's party appears to have won 30 seats while the second place Zionist Union has won only 24.  Most likely, Netanyahu will lead the next government.

There are more ballots to count, and in the Israeli system these ballots could change the numbers of seats for each party by a bit, but it is most likely that the end result will see a major Likud victory.  What is most amazing, however, is that all the polls in the last few days prior to the election showed that the Zionist Union was leading by 3 seats or so and that Likud was fading rapidly.  These polls were not just wrong, they were not even remotely close to the correct result.  The exit polls taken of Israelis leaving the polling places showed either a tie between Likud and the Zionist Union or a one seat lead for Likud.  That means that the exit polls, although closer to the actual results than the pre-election polls, were still completely wrong.

One has to wonder how the polls can be that wrong.  It will be interesting to see the post election analysis of the vote to see how Likud put together its winning results.

On another note, these results were a disaster for president Obama.  Remember, Obama was clearly rooting for Netanyahu to lose.  Over the last few weeks, Obama has done everything but go to Israel to campaign for the Zionist Union.  The State Department was funneling cash to anti-Netanyahu organizations; one of Obama's principal campaign aides was dispatched to Israel to help fight against Netanyahu; and Obama made a major point of snubbing Netanyahu when he came to the USA to speak to Congress.  Relations between Netanyahu and Obama were already strained.  Without a doubt, Obama's attempt to oust Netanyahu and Obama's failure to do so will lead to a worsening of that already bad relationship.


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