Benyamin Netanyahu would be a big winner over Prime Minister Ehud Barak if the prime-ministerial election were held now, according to a survey by pollsters Hanoch and Rafi Smith, cited Friday by The Jerusalem Post.
In polls carried out this week, Netanyahu expanded his already sizable lead from earlier in the month, said the paper.
"Support for Barak is at a low point," said Rafi Smith. "Nearly half of Barak supporters in '99 would not vote for him today." The survey found that 28 percent of respondents would not participate in the election, 10 percent had not decided, and 19 percent would back Netanyahu.
The poll was conducted among 501 Jewish adults on Sunday and Monday - when it was expected that the Knesset would vote on Tuesday in first reading for early elections, but before it was known that Barak would inform the House of his readiness to go to an early national ballot. The margin of error was 4.5 percent.
According to the daily, in what would be a landslide victory, 47 percent of those questioned voiced support for the former premier and Likud leader, while only 25 percent favored the incumbent - fewer than those who said they would not take part in the election.
Netanyahu decided to return to the political stage after he was acquitted of corruption charges in October. Barak, who achieved a landslide victory over Netanyahu in 1999, has underplayed the results of the consecutive polls which put his rival ahead of him – Albawaba.com
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