Poll: Netanyahu's Party Loses Steam as Right-wing Yamina Surges

Nearly half prefer new election to the continuation of current government ■ 59 percent believe Israel is heading for a third coronavirus lockdown

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, October 15, 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, October 15, 2020.Credit: Alex Kolomoisky

Surveys released by Channel 13 and Channel 12 on Sunday, as Israel begins to ease its second coronavirus lockdown, would see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party lose three Knesset seats since the previous Channel 13 survey.

Forty-eight percent of poll respondants said a new election should be called rather than allowing the current government to continue its tenure. Only 26 percent said they would prefer the current government to a new election, while 16 percent were unsure.

If an election were held today, Likud is still projected to lead with 27 seats in both polls. Right-wing Yamina would come in second, securing 24 in the Channel 13 poll, two more than in the previous survey, while the slate gained 22 in the Channel 12 poll. In the current Knesset, the slate holds just six seats.

Both polls project a clear majority for the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox bloc. Channel 13 predicted the bloc winning 66 seats, with 46 seats awarded to the center-left bloc. The Channel 12 poll gave the right-wing bloc 55 seats, and the center-left 45.

The third largest party would be Yesh Atid-Telem, which gained 3 seats, rising to a total of 21 in the Channel 13 poll (five more than its current Knesset standing). The Joint List of Arab-majority parties would, meanwhile, garner 11 seats, one less than in the previous survey. In the Channel 12 poll, Yesh Atid-Telem would earn 17 seats.

Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan remained stable with eight seats according to Channel 13 respondents, and ten in the Channel 12 survey. Yisrael Beiteinu and the ultra-Orthodox Shas would each earn eight seats according to Channel 13, with the former remaining steady and the latter gaining a seat, while United Torah Judaism would remain at seven seats. According to the Channel 12 poll, Shas would garner nine seats, and both United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beiteinu would garner seven each.

Left-wing Meretz lost two seats since the last Channel 13 projection, garnering just six seats in both polls released Sunday.

The Labor Party, Gesher, Derech Eretz (which split off from Kahol Lavan) and Habayit Hayehudi would not pass the electoral threshold, both polls predicted.

The survey also asked respondents which candidate is most suited to be prime minister. Thirty-six percent said Netanyahu. Twenty-five percent said Yamina's Naftali Bennett would be the best candidate, an increase of seven percent over the last poll. Opposition leader Yair Lapid was selected by 19 percent of poll participants, with another 15 percent saying that Benny Gantz is the best candidate.

Participants were asked about the government's considerations in handling the coronavirus lockdown exit strategy. Sixty-three percent said they believed the government was acting out of "political considerations," while only 26 percent believed the government was acting out of "professional considerations."

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they believed there would be a third coronavirus lockdown. Only 21 percent said they believed the government's exit strategy would be effective and another 20 percent said they were unsure.

Regarding Netanyahu's performance in managing the coronavirus crisis, 58 percent said his performance was 'poor', and 36 percent said his performance was 'good.

Naftali Bennett speaks in the Knesset, August 24, 2020.Credit: אורן בן חקון

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