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Poll shows Kadima will sweep elections even without Sharon
Ariel Sharon's party, Kadima, would win 40 Knesset seats if elections were held as of Thursday and the party were to be headed by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Should Tzipi Livni step into Sharon's shoes, Kadima would get 38 Knesset seats. Were Vice Premier Shimon Peres to take over leadership of the party, Kadima would win 42 seats - exactly the number of seats it would have garnered four days ago, when Sharon was still healthy.
The results are from a special survey conducted yesterday for Haaretz and Channel 10 by Dr. Camil Fuchs's polling company, Dialog.
The survey covered 650 people representing the general public, and was conducted less than one day after Sharon suffered a severe stroke. The Haaretz-Channel 10 survey also checked the response to two more party leadership candidates - Shaul Mofaz (36 Knesset seats) and Meir Sheetrit (28). With Olmert - considered the leading candidate - heading Kadima, Labor loses one seat and drops from 19 seats to 18, as does Likud, which drops from 14 to 13.
The impact of the survey is limited, as it was conducted in the eye of the storm, at the height of uncertainty, polling a public awash in sympathy for Sharon, who is fighting for his life. Anyone who said Thursday they would vote for Kadima was still saying they would vote for Sharon, even though it is clear he will no longer head the party he founded just weeks ago.
The prevailing assumption among Kadima members is that their party will lose altitude in the polls over the coming weeks and the only question that remains is: Where will it stabilize? A senior Kadima official said Thursday that the victory line for the party was 30-32 seats. According to him, if Kadima gets 32 seats on March 28, it will form the next coalition and the party's leader will be prime minister.