Gabay, Peretz Could Change Labor’s Fortunes, Poll Shows

Avi Gabay. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

A weekend poll in Maariv shows that the surprise results of last week’s Labor/Zionist Camp primaries could have a major impact on the next elections, as two new players – contenders Avi Gabay and Amir Peretz – emerged as front runners to lead the party.

Both candidates are seen as a breath of fresh air by potential voters, many of whom were turned off by current party head Yitzchak Herzog’s less aggressive style, according to the poll. If chosen to lead the party, Peretz would bring in 17 seats, while Labor/Zionist Camp under the leadership of Gabay would pull in 16. Recent polls have shown the party getting no more than 12 seats, and in some polls Labor/Zionist Camp was down to single-digit numbers.

Where would those extra votes come from? The poll shows that in an election with a Labor/Zionist Camp led by Peretz, Likud would get 26 seats, Yesh Atid 20, Labor/Zionist Camp 17, Jewish Home 12, United Arab List 12, Kulanu 9, United Torah Judaism 7, Yisrael Beytenu 6, Meretz 6, and Shas 5. Based on current Knesset positions, Peretz pulls away 2 seats from Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu, one from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, and one from Meretz.

In a party headed by Gabay, the results would be: Likud 25 seats, Yesh Atid 21, Labor/Zionist Camp 16, Jewish Home 12, United Arab List 12, Kulanu 8, United Torah Judaism 7, Meretz 7, Yisrael Beytenu 6, and Shas 6. Thus Gabay is seen as better positioned to take seats away from the Likud, the poll said.