First look at the exit polls — here’s why Netanyahu is so worried

UPDATED @ 3pm Eastern (10pm Israel time): The polls have officially closed….I’ll post official results as they’re released….TV network projections looking close to the exit polls I reported earlier, except that Likud may have done a little better than feared….Channel 2 puts Likud first at 31 seats…..Yesh Atid looks to be second with 18-19 seats….Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) is projected to receive 12 seats (big surge from 2009, but perhaps not as good as expected)….developing…..

ORIGINAL POST: Here’s the first look at the exit polls as of 8:30pm local time in Israel (1:30pm eastern). These come from a trusted source in Israel. Bear in mind they are exit polls, not final numbers.

  • 29-30 Likud (Netanyahu’s party, currently has 27 seats in parliament; formed an alliance with the Israel Beitenu party; thought they’d get a combined 40-42 seats; then Beitenu leader, Avigdor Lieberman, was indicted on corruption charges) 
  • 18 Yesh Atid (this is a new center-left party led by Yair Lapid, a first time candidate and rapidly rising star)
  • 14 Habayit Hayehudi (this center-right party currently has 3 seats, but is now led by a new rising star Naphtali Bennett)
  • 14 Labor
  • 14 Shas
  • 4-5 Hatnua (Livni)

This is why Netanyahu went public in the last hour, saying “Likud rule is in danger.” He’s urging his voters to “drop everything and go vote for the Likud-Beytenu list,” saying, “It’s very important for guaranteeing the future of the state of Israel.”