Ha’aretz notes what it calls the “problematic nature of the relationship between polls and politics.”
As long as the surveys showed [the Pensioners] did not pass the minimum threshold, they were unable to take off… In Monday’s surveys, they were already receiving two seats, according to all the polls. The moment that the surveys indicated they would pass the threshold, the party became the refuge of the floating vote.
They key was for the party to show it was over 2%, and then many voters would follow along. The party had to reach viability, to show a vote for it was not wasted.
A look at the full vote by party shows that the only parties between 1.5% and 3% were the three Arab parties (all with well defined constituencies, thus relatively assured of their above-threshold vote, though Balad, at 2.2%, barely made it).
The Greens were the party with the most votes among the below-threshold parties, at 1.5%. Below them was the Green Leaf, at 1.2%.
Above the threshold, and also above the Arab parties, was Meretz, at 3.7%. Pensioners wound up all the way up at 5.9%.
What this suggests is that the threshold was quite well understood, and so was the viability of individual non-Arab parties. The result was Greens and Green Leaf (each of which might have appealed to lots of “floating voters”) being stuck with only their “true believers,” while the Pensioners made a stunning breakthrough.
Then Ha’aretz asks: “Would so many people really have voted for the pensioners had they imagined they would receive seven seats?” Ah, interesting question. Perhaps the party performed better than its floating voters would have wanted. It is, after all, precisely what it says it is: A party made up exclusively of pensioner organizations.