The gap is closing between Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and his deputy Asaf Zamir, according to polls released on Thursday, and Zamir is feeling confident.
A win for 38-year-old Zamir against the 74-year-old mayor, who has held the reigns of Tel Aviv-Jaffa for two decades, would be a dramatic result in the October 30 mayoral election.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post after two polls showed Zamir’s popularity to be growing, albeit still significantly behind Huldai, the Rov Ha’ir (Majority of the City) Party leader believes the winds are blowing in his favor.
“I don’t believe in polls but I do believe in trends,” Zamir said, when questioned about his faith in the reliability of polls as a predictor.
A poll by Hamekoman released on Thursday gave Zamir 20% of the vote among all potential voters – 5.7% behind Huldai – and 23.3%, which is 10.2% behind the mayor, among those who are sure they will vote.
The results of all respondents in the survey to the question: “Who will you vote for in the elections for the mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa?” were as follows: Huldai 25.7%, Asaf Zamir 20%, Assaf Harel 7.3% and Natan Elnatan 6%. Only 5.7% responded that they would not vote, while over a third (35.3%) are undecided.
Among those who said that they would definitely vote in the elections, the gap widened in favor of Huldai: 33.5% said they would vote for Huldai, 23.3% for Zamir, 8.1% for Harel and 5.1% for Elnatan, with 29.7% undecided.
Meanwhile, a poll by Israel Hayom found the gap to be less at 7%, with Huldai getting 29% of the vote, Asaf Zamir 22%, Assaf Harel 8% and 39% undecided.
Just two months ago, a Channel 2 poll gave Huldai 45% of the votes and Zamir just 10%, trailing after MK Stav Shaffir who got 14% but has since announced that she is not running for the job.
Zamir expressed assurance that the direction of the trends is moving toward him.
He added that his team is the only one that is seriously campaigning and every day he sees a growing number of people supporting him and “understanding from my history that I’m capable and it’s time. I’m sure we can win. I’m sure we are on our way.”
Zamir became the youngest deputy mayor in Israel’s history when he took the post in 2008, at the age of 28. He is a co-founder and chairman of the Rov Ha’ir Party and has been responsible for the fields of education, community and youth, and planning and building in the municipality.
Addressing criticism at his bid to unseat the man who has until now been his boss, Zamir responded by drawing a comparison between a mayor and a prime minister and a deputy and a minister. “If you’re in the car but you’re not driving you don’t have the authority or power to change general policy,” he told the Post, also highlighting that he is not from the same party as Huldai (Labor). “So the things I talk about are things that I think he should have done but he didn’t.”
“I think nobody should stay in a high public office for more than 20 years. I think it’s not healthy for democracy. I think he’s done many things and what he hasn’t done he won’t do already. And I think it’s time for change and for someone who can look 20-30 years ahead towards the future and set the city on a different track,” Zamir said.
“All of our work together was peaceful, quiet, constructive and together,” he added. “It’s ended and there are elections and during elections you are allowed to state an alternative.”
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