On the Way to the Polls
70% of Undecided Voters: Voting on Religion and State
Pre-election polling shows that 67% of the Jewish public in Israel believes that issues of religion and state will greatly influence their vote, including 69% of secular votes and 91% of ultra-Orthodox voters. President of Hiddush Rabbi Uri Regev comments, "Ignoring the issues of religion and state on the campaign trail only lowers the quality of the discourse and it goes against the interests of the parties."
Shas leaders Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias, and Aryeh Deri, at the kickoff of the party’s elections, Israel Convention Center. 11.03.2012. Photo: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90
As candidates prepare for the final days of campaigning, the Smith Research Insitute has conducted polling for Hiddush to better understand where issues of religion and state stand in the minds of voters and to estimate how these issues influence their voting decisions. Overall, the polling results show that there is significant interest in the status of religion in Israel.
A sample pool of 500 Jewish adults was asked the following question on January 14th-15th, 2013: "How will issues of religion and state, like ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the army and civil marriage, influence your voting behavior in the upcoming elections?"
This is the breakdown of their responses:
"Issues of religion and state greatly affect my decision for whom to vote."
- 69% of the secular voters
- 64% of immigrant voters
- 91% of the ultra-Orthodox voters
- 81% of the Modern Orthodox voters
- 49% of traditional Jewish voters
70% of those surveyed still had not decided for whom they would be voting in the coming days but said that issues of religion and state would significantly influence their decision.
Ignoring these issues doesn't only affect the quality of the public debate and the information that the voters are receiving, It also goes against the interests of the parties from all over the political spectrum.
By breakdown of political parties, the following percentage of those polled said that these issues would greatly influence their votes:
- 90% of potential Meretz voters
- 96% of Shas voters
- 83% of United Torah Judaism voters
- 78% of Jewish Home voters
- 71% of Yesh Atid voters
- 63% of Labor party voters
- 56% of HaTnuah voters
- 48% of Likud Beiteinu voters
Rabbi Uri Regev, president of Hiddush, said in response to the results that, "it is a shame how poorly the issues of religion and state were discussed, except for the ultra-Orthodox draft, on the campaign trails. Ignoring these issues doesn't only affect the quality of the public debate and the information that the voters are receiving, It also goes against the interests of the parties from all over the political spectrum. It is clear that these issues will have a significant influence on the decisions of voters from all political camps and sectors, therefore it's crucial that they are aware of the positions of each list."