8:36 PM Israel time: It’s about an hour and a half until the big announcement of the exit polling and it’s the time when you watch the news and try to figure out what the journalists aren’t telling you – because they know the results but aren’t allowed to announce them yet.
The hints we’re getting – it’s going to be a long night – and that means it’s going to be close. The TV reporters keep referring to coffee and caffeine and staying up late.
On Channel 2 now, the political reporters are saying that even though Israel has a parliamentary system where you vote for a party – not for an individual – that the voters were treating this election like direct personal elections – people voted for Bibi, Tsippi, Lieberman, or Barak, not paying great attention to who else was on the party list – that is if they even knew who they were. A reporter said that Meretz made a mistake in trying to sell the party, not the man at the top of the ticket (another hint – pretty clear Meretz is going to get trounced – but you don’t need inside info to figure that out, just anecdotal evidence – former Meretz voters either moved right to support Livni, or moved left to Hadash or sideways to the Green Party.)