Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan parties are neck and neck ahead of Israel's September 17 election, polls released Sunday by Channel 13 News and Kan Public Broadcaster show. (For the latest election polls – click here)
The Channel 13 poll shows Kahol Lavan pulling ahead of Likud in a one-seat lead, marking the first time it has overtaken Netanyahu's party in any major polls since do-over election was announced.
According to the poll, Kahol Lavan would get 32 out of 120 Knesset seats, and Likud 31. The Kan poll, meanwhile, shows Likud leading with 32 seats, with Kahol Lavan projected 31.
Channel 13's projections show a potential center-left coalition, including Arab-majority alliance Joint List, winning 55 seats to the right's 54, and Kan shows 56 on the right to the left's 55.
In both polls, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu is reprising its role as kingmaker, gaining 11 mandates in Channel 13 and nine in Kan's poll. Lieberman, as well as the Joint List, haven’t committed to supporting any specific candidate for prime minister.
Kan asked respondents how satisfied they were with Netanyahu's handling of the situation on the northern border, before Sunday's exchange of fire with Hezbollah. Respondents were split, with 45 percent satisfied and 45 percent unsatisfied. They were more certain in their appraisal of Netanyahu's handling of the situation on the Gaza border, though – 32 percent said they were satisfied with it, while 61 percent said they disapproved.
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In addition, only 18 percent of respondents believed Netanyahu's calls to boycott the Keshet Media Company, the producers of the HBO series "Our Boys," is appropriate; 64 percent believe it is not.
The numbers were nearly unchanged between Kan's latest poll and the one they released last week. Both show Likud leading with 32 mandates, Kahol Lavan with 31, the Joint List of Arab parties carrying 11, Ayelet Shaked's right-wing union Yamina with 10, Yisrael Beiteinu with nine, and both Shas and United Torah Judaism with seven. The Democratic Union gained one mandate, rising to seven, and Labor-Gesher lost one, with six.
The previous Channel 13 News poll was conducted in mid-August. Its new poll shows Kahol Lavan rising by one, Likud remaining static at 31, Yisrael Beiteinu remaining at 11, Yamina falling two mandates to 10, the Joint List gaining one at 10, the Democratic Union falling by one to seven, United Torah Judaism remaining at seven, Shas remaining at six and Labor-Gesher gaining one at six.