As always, polls of Israeli opinion produce seemingly contradictory findings and the latest ones by Haaretz and YnetNews are no exception. Haaretz finds that Olmert’s approval rating has dropped from 75% to 48%. YnetNews finds his approval at 70%. One should note that it appears YnetNews asked different questions than Haaretz and this certainly can mean disparate findings. Amir Peretz’s approval ratings sank ever lower–from 65% to 37%. Ynetnews places his approval rate at 60%. Haaretz reports that most of this decline occurred in just the past week.
Interestingly, the one cabinet official who continues enjoying high popularity is one who’s been relatively silent on matters pertaining to the war: Tzipi Livni. Her approval rating is at 61%. More on Livni in a later post. Only 47% approved of Chief of Staff Dan Halutz’s performance–very low marks for such an officer in time of war. Ynetnews finds much higher marks for the IDF, but doesn’t seem to have polled about Halutz’s individual performance.
According to Haaretz, 30% of Israelis believe that Israel is losing the Lebanon war and 44% believe that neither side is winning. This is a stunning finding when you think of what the entire nation must’ve expected when the war was first declared: a relatively easy IDF victory over a small terrorist group.
Haaretz finds only 39% back the Cabinet’s recently announced expansion of the war, while 28% support an immediate ceasefire. 26% support continuing the war in its present form. Ynetnews reports 90% of Israeli Jews believe that the war is justified and that 66% support its continuation.
YnetNews tells us that 48% of Israelis are in favor of direct negotiations with Hamas (are you listening Olmert?) and 39% support such negotiations with Hezbollah. In essence, what the latter figure tells us is that a significant minority of the Israeli public is in favor of negotiations for the return of its two kidnapped soldiers rather than continued war to get them back. This would be another repudiation of current government policy.