Netanyahu's poll numbers jump after US visit

Thursday, May 26, 2011 |  Ryan Jones  

Israeli public opinion polls showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu and his Likud Party reaping the benefits of his tension-filled visit to Washington this week.

A poll carried out by Israeli survey company Dialogue showed that 51 percent of Israelis approve of Netanyahu's leadership, up from 38 percent last month.

A 47 percent plurality viewed Netanyahu's address before the US Congress as a success, and half of Israelis said they felt proud as they watched the American lawmakers repeatedly and enthusiastically applaud their leader.

Netanyahu's speech before Congress was seen as a rebuff of US President Barack Obama's peace policies laid out earlier in the week. Only 25 percent of the Israelis polled by Dialogue believe Obama is friendly toward Israel.

Netanyahu's perceived success in Washington has also paid off for the ruling Likud Party, which another poll conducted on behalf of Channel 2 News showed would handily win if elections were held today.

According to the survey by the Sarid Institute, if elections were held today, the Likud would come away with 34 Knesset seats, up from its current 27. The opposition Kadima Party would win 29 seats, one more than its current 28.

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