The Guardian gets it wrong: Exit polls indicate no rightward political shift in Israel

If exit polls (as reported by Times of Israel and other media outlets) turn out to be accurate, the Guardian mantra – parroted by nearly every commentator and reporter who’s been providing ‘analysis’ on the Israeli elections – warning of a hard and dangerous shift to the right will prove to have been entirely inaccurate.

In the final days before the vote, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood seemed certain that the elections would bring “a more hawkish and pro-settler government“, and Guardian Middle East Editor Ian Black warned that “Netanyahu [was] poised to…head a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before“.

Rachel Shabi predicted that Israel would elect “the most right-wing government in its history“, while Jonathan Freedland expressed gloom that diaspora Jews would have to watch “the centre of gravity…shift so far rightward [in Israel] that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

However, based on preliminary reports, not only does it appear that there has been absolutely no rightward shift, but the makeup of the next Knesset may be slightly more left than the current one.

While in 2009 the right-wing bloc bested the center-left bloc by 65-55, the tallies released tonight after polls closed in Israel at 10 PM showed that the new Knesset will have a narrower (61-59) right-bloc advantage.    


Screenshot from Israel’s Channel 2, showing 61-59 right-left split based on exit polling

According various exit polls, the top three parties will be Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu with 31 Knesset seats, the centrist Yesh Atid with 19, and the leftist Labor Party with between 16-18. The rightist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in fourth and will have 13 or 14, while Shas, the ultra-orthodox party, came in fifth with 12.

Some Israeli commentators are already predicting that Binyamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a centrist or even a right-center-left coalition.

Though the final results aren’t expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday, a few things are certain:

The Guardian invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching dangerously towards the right.  

They got it completely wrong.

They will learn absolutely nothing from their egregious miscalculation.


57 replies »

    • Freedland has sold his soul to the Guardian and has been unable to find his way back. He knows nothing about Israel and is kept on board as a tame as-a-Jew to be used at the appropriate time by Rusbridger.

        • You were proven right though, Nat.
          Many in Israel do support a 2 state solution and oppose Bibi or Bennet, but most either didn’t come to vote (like many in the Arab sector) or are fragmented into many parties.

        • Nat: “Will Mr Levick attack Israel’s media?”

          Why should he? The Israeli media can take a point of view opposed to the present Israeli government without having to parade their moral superiority uber der juden. Something that der Grud, in all it’s progressive wisdom, has yet to master.

          • Why shouldn’t he? Why attack the Guardian only?

            The Guardian can take a point of view opposed to Adam Levick without having to parade its moral superiority über Adam. Something that he, in all his progressive wisdom, has yet to master.

            • If the CiF’s work regarding Israel would legitimately give it ANY moral superiority relative to anyone, that analogy of yours would be valid. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Sorry about that.

    • A note of caution. We now have a good idea of the make-up of the Knesset, which is clearly NOT the “most right-wing in history”TM, but we do not yet know the make-up of the Government, which still could be.

    • All israeli and international media said that Israelis were going to elect their most right-wing government in history.

      We won’t know whether it’s accurate or not until the government has been formed. Mr Levick will have to wait.

  1. “They will learn absolutely nothing from their egregious miscalculation.”

    They never have, and they never apologize.

  2. Scanning the list of articles at:

    Is really quite hilarious.

    Not one that comes close to the reality of Israel’s swing to the center and re-invigoration of the left.

    The reality seems to clearly be that half of all Israelis voted on issues such as the economy, housing, the future of their children – not how many settlements should be built and where. In addition, they voted for fresh faces and a desire to throw the old warhorses out (something I devoutly wish would happen in the USA, BTW).

    • pretzelberg did you have to mention David Owen?

      A person so self-important, arrogant, unprincipled, treacherous and slimy that the prospect of eating a plate of live slugs is more appetising than watching him on television.
      Before you ask I am not a fan of (Lord) David Owen.

      • I was thinking more along the lines of the ladies-man aspect. Yair is a bit of a looker, after all.

        Talking of which: Bibi has female fans even in lowly Norwich:

        (yes, I’ve posted this here before – fast forward to 2:00 … although the whole clip is pretty brilliant)

  3. Was the Guardian’s analysis any different to, say, the Isreali media’s? They were reporting what the polls said. So it’s the pollsters who got it wrong, not the reporters.

    • and you got it wrong, too.
      Not surprising.
      Anyway, of which Israeli media do you talk, guardian of the Guardian, defender of undefendable antisemitism?

      • Last time I checked, defending democracy in Israel, the two-state solution and the right for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace was not “undefendable antisemitism”, Fritz.

        • But you’re not defending “Israeli democracy”, “Nat”:
          1.You’re a troll; –
          2. And you’ve also argued for boycotts of Israel — now that’s not, in any measure, “supporting the two-state solution”.

          • 101, I have NEVER argued for any boycott of Israel.

            I suggest you make yourself familiar with the defamation and libel laws in your country.

            • Yes, you have, idiot.
              And I’d welcome your suit wholeheartedly… The countervailing one, for your trolling will leave you bankrupt. Go ahead, moron.

              • 101, I have never, ever called for boycotting Israel.

                You’re the one who’s obsessed with boycotting the jewish state.

                • “Nat”, we’ve got threads sprawled with your desire to see Israel destroyed.
                  Your trolling procedures to spin this on me, are not going to work.
                  Nice try though, but a pathetic result nontheless.
                  But is one to expect of a troll?

                • 101, what you write is completely false. I’ve never supported “boycotting Israel”, and I’ve never advocated “destroying the state of Israel”. What I support is no mystery: I support the two-state solution, like a majority of Israelis.

                • Again with this, moron?!
                  I’ve already linked to the thread where you directly voiced approval for boycotting Israel… You squealed with excitement and enthusiasm for the chance of harming Israel.
                  Now, would you mind explaining why you’re s’pamming on a thread that’s 3 weeks old?!
                  Do you think no one can observe these cheap trolling theatrics?
                  Take your perverted, paid, trolling mind, and piss off…

            • Dear ‘Nat’ why do you feel the need to try and crush views you disagree with by threatening people with law suits?

              “I suggest you make yourself familiar with the defamation and libel laws in your country.”

              What a pity you only visit a democracy like Israel otherwise you might not want to use threats and administrative measures that are common in dictatorships.

              By the way I am still waiting for you to answer the questions I put to you on different threads including your continuing gross violation of the Convention passed by the U.N. General Assembly on Civil and Political Rights, look up the thread if you need to refresh your memory.

          • Defending democracy in Israel, the two-state solution and the right for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, and fighting hard right wing nutcases is not “antisemitism”, Fritz.

    • True, Sanity. The BBC’s report by Wyre Davies last night, for example, focussed almost entirely on a “shift to the right” even after the poll results had come in. It was almost as if he had written his report before the vote and decided to broadcast it irrespective of the actual results.

      It is not ONLY the Guardian who are guilty of peddling their own line, but “everyone else does it” doesn’t wash as an excuse when you are caught speeding, neither will it wash in this case.

      • fair enough, but it hardly makes it ‘egregious’ or evil or anything like that. It just means the boffins who run the calculations at the pollsters got it wrong. Are they also egregious?

    • Sanity yes the ‘pollsters’ get their projections wrong. But that is not a new occurrence. Where I do criticise reporters or journalists is that they have a responsibility to check the facts and background to any story they are reporting or opinion piece they are writing.

      They have a duty to point out the margin of error that exists in all opinion polls.

      What I strongly criticise “The Guardian” for is, when it comes to the Middle East and Israel in particular, the tendency by their reporters/journalists to mix fact with their own opinion and report or write that opinion as if it was fact, or indeed as some do look for pieces out of context to fit their own pre-set agendas without checking or caring if it is factually correct or not.

      • —- What I strongly criticise “The Guardian” for is, when it comes to the Middle East and Israel in particular,

        They do that with almost everything, especially in the mutualised content, which are frequently laced with factual errors and weird and baseless assumptions.

  4. In other good news, that anti-Israeli pro-Hamas Arabist institution – Co-Op, is closing down at least two of their stores in my town. What with Guardian down the pan (while it’s own Nero plays the piano, badly), and this, shows lefties don’t know who to run businesses and they’re on the way out.

  5. It’s not very surprising that CiF, like Haaretz, had their heads up their butts when it came to the big news about the Yesh Atid surge. Neither paper likes or respects centrists, they view them as betrayers of their left-wing dogmas. They treat centrists with a little more respect than rightists, but that respect amounts to (metaphorically) spitting in their faces instead of hitting them with tire irons. So they weren’t open to facts about the Israeli electorate driving home the message about seeking non-extreme groups to lift–that’s why they haven’t looked closely at the flat or declining votes for hard-Left parties outside of the whopping surge to 6 seat for Meretz–and this became another self-fulfilling political and ideologically-driven case of why CiF and their cronies are fundamentally bad at journalism.

    • One of the reason of the Meretz surge is the labour voters who simply can’t stand Shelly and sought the nearest option.
      Another is the Arab voters which are looking for a party which actualy attempt to represent them rather than Israel’s Arab neighbours (like the Lebanese) or the Palestinians.

  6. The number of people voting for Likud Yisrael Beiteinu now as opposed to the separate Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu in the past, went up by a not insignificant 25%. The Guardian seems to have gotten it partially right, but not in the way they might have imagined.

  7. And yet when countries actually lurch to the far right – as is the case with Greece and the Golden Dawn – we barely get of a sniff of it!