Over Half of Israelis Predict Netanyahu Will Lead Next Government, New Poll Shows

Less than a quarter believe building next governing coalition after April 9 will be up to Gantz ■ Channel 12 poll suggests right-wing bloc will have majority in Knesset

A man looks on Blue and White party election campaign poster depicting its leaders as well as Netanyahu with members of Israel's far-right Jewish Power, in Jerusalem March 27, 2019.
\ AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

A new poll conducted by Israel's Channel 12 found Kahol Lavan, the slate led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, maintaining an edge over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud by four seats (32 to 28).

Such a gap, however, is no guarantee of success since any leading party will have to build a coalition of at least 61 seats to be able to govern after April 9. The same poll shows the bloc of right-wing parties putting together 64 seats, thus overcoming a hypothetical alliance of parties supporting Gantz.

Moreover, 38 percent of Israelis polled said they prefer Netanyahu as the next prime minister, while only 36 percent said they prefer Gantz. Among the other respondents, 15 percent said none of the two should be the next prime minister, while 11 percent said they did not know.

Likewise, 56 percent predicted Netanyahu will form the next government regardless of their views, while only 22 percent said Gantz will likely build the next governing coalition. Only 4 percent said they thought neither of them will build the next coalition, and 18 percent said they did not know.

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The poll also predicts that the far-right pro-cannabis Zehut party, led by Moshe Feiglin, will get five seats, a small decline since a Yedioth Ahronoth poll on March 29 but still above the electoral threshold and far beyond early expectations.

Despite fears of a very low turn-out in Israel's Arab public, Arab-majority list Hadash-Ta'al as well as the United Arab List-Balad slate are shown overcoming the threshold with 7 and 4 seats respectively in the poll.

Potential Likud allies from the right-wing Hayamin Hehadash, led by ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, and Yisrael Beiteinu, led by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, are predicted to obtain a meager 5 and 4 seats respectively. The controversial far-right Union of Right-Wing Parties is also predicted to get 5 seats. 

On the left, and more or less in keeping with previous polls, Labor is predicted to get 8 seats and Meretz  5, while the ultra-orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism are both predicted to get 6 seats.

The Channel 12 poll is based on interviews with 502 Israelis.