Magazine article Tablet Magazine

What Americans Need to Understand about Israel's Election Results

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

What Americans Need to Understand about Israel's Election Results

Article excerpt

The votes have yet to be counted in fullmore than 200,000 are still to be tallied, which could make a big difference for parties like the New Right struggling to make it into the Knessetbut a few truths about Israel's election are hard to ignore:

The Polls Really Don't Work: At 10 p.m. on election night, Mina Tzemach, Israel's most prominent pollster, unveiled her eagerly anticipated prediction, putting Benny Gantz far ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu. It didn't take long to realize the extent of her error, or, for that matter, the stunning inaccuracy of nearly every other poll that shaped and informed the debate leading up to election day. Moshe Feiglin, whose Zehut party was slated to score as many as seven seats, was out; Avigdor Lieberman, who was left for dead by most prognosticators, won bigly. The reason may be as much technological as it is political: Reaching most of their respondents online or via cellphone, pollsters are inherently biased toward overrepresenting the sort of people who are comfortable taking an online survey or chatting to a stranger about politics. …

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