Netanyahu's Popularity Surges After Trump's Visit to Israel, Poll Shows

Some 35% of Israelis consider Netanyahu most fit to serve as prime minister, Channel 2 polls shows, well ahead of Yair Lapid's 14% (and Herzog's sad 5%)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump at Israel Museum, Jerusalem, May 2017
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump at Israel Museum, Jerusalem, May 2017 Olivier Fitoussi

The popularity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party is soaring following U.S. President Donald Trump's visit this week, a poll aired by Channel 2 on Friday showed. According to the poll, the Likud party would easily win should an election be held today.

The poll showed the Likud party winning 30 Knesset seats, eight more than in the last poll and eight more than runner-up party Yesh Atid, led by Netanyahu's former finance minister, Yair Lapid. 

Additionally, 35% of respondents said Netanyahu is most fit to serve as Israel's premier, with Lapid trailing behind with only 14%. The leader of the opposition, Isaac Herzog, was supported by only 5% of those surveyed.

According to the poll, Herzog's Zionist Union, which is currently the second largest Knesset party, would have dropped to fourth place with only 12 seats, less than the Joint Arab List's 13.

While the right-wing leader commands a clear lead over his rivals, 47% of respondents said that they still support a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians based on 1967 borders, while only 39% were opposed - 14% said they do not know. 

The poll also took a closer look at the Zionist Union party against the backdrop of murmurs that Ehud Barak, the former leader of the Labor Party and the prime minister of Israel between 1999 and 2001, was planning a political comeback.

According to the poll, if the Zionist Union party was led by Barak it would win 15 Knesset seats, three more than the party under Herzog polled, but still a far cry from challenging Lapid, let alone Netanyahu.