Israeli PM Falls Further in Popularity
January 06, 2007

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Ehud Olmert's popularity has dropped further according to a poll in which more than three quarters of those questioned said they were dissatisfied with the Israeli premier.

Seventy seven percent expressed their discontent with Olmert in the poll published on Ynet, the website of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, on Wednesday.

A November poll showed 70 percent dissatisfied, compared with 68 percent in September and 40 percent in August.

In the latest poll, 47 percent gave Olmert "a very bad mark" for how he handles affairs, while 22 percent gave him "a good mark" and one percent "a very good mark".

Meanwhile, 62 percent said the prime minister was unable to face up to pressure, against 37 percent who said he could.

Finally, 80 percent said Israel had not carefully considered the consequences before declaring war on Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer.

Olmert and his government came under intense criticism over the war, which saw more than 160 Israelis and more than 1,200 Lebanese killed but which fell short of its goals of stopping Hezbollah from firing rockets into Israel and securing the release of the two soldiers.

Corruption probes are also haunting Israel's leadership, with Olmert's personal secretary, Shula Zaken, placed under house arrest Tuesday in the latest development.