Israel Election Polls: Tel Aviv Mayor Gains Ground, Gantz Grazing Threshold

Just four percent of respondents believe Benny Gantz is suitable to be prime minister, as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai enters the fray with 8-9 projected Knesset seats

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai at the opening of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, December 1, 2020.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai at the opening of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, December 1, 2020. Credit: Moti Milrod

Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party, which lost two senior members in 24 hours, is teetering on the brink of the electoral threshold, election polls released Wednesday by Channels 12 and 13 show.

Channel 13's poll shows Kahol Lavan with five seats, but Channel 12 gives him just four seats – the minimum to enter Knesset. Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn left the slate on Tuesday to join Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai's party, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi announced on Wednesday afternoon that he will not be running with Kahol Lavan in the upcoming election.

After Huldai announced that he is running for Knesset on Tuesday, his Hayisraelim party is projected to win eight to nine parliamentary seats.

Some of the party's votes seem to come at the expense of fellow center-left party Yesh Atid, which dropped from 16 seats in Channel 12's previous poll, conducted last week, to 13 in the current one. Gideon Sa'ar's center-right New Hope party, still slated to be the second largest in Knesset, also lost two seats since the previous poll.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party still maintains a steady lead of a projected 28-29 seats. Even so, the bloc of parties who have vowed not to join a Netanyahu government – Sa'ar's party, Yesh Atid, the Joint List, Meretz, Yisrael Beiteinu, Hayisraelim and Kahol Lavan, have a majority of 63 seats. The opposing bloc, consisting of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yamina would win 57.

The Channel 13 poll also asked respondents who they believe would be the most suitable candidate for prime minister. Thirty-eight percent said Netanyahu, 18 percent said Sa'ar, 12 percent chose Yair Lapid, nine percent said Yamina's Naftali Bennett and just four percent said Benny Gantz.

The new party established by former Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, Gesher, Habayit Hayehudi and Labor did not pass the electoral threshold in this poll. Former accountant-general Yaron Zelekha's Economic Party, announced Wednesday evening, was not included in the poll.

The Channel 13 poll was conducted alongside Prof. Camille Fuchs, and included 601 respondents from the Jewish population and 100 from the Arab community. It has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

The Channel 12 poll was conducted alongside the Midgam Institute, led by Manu Geva and in cooperation with iPanel. It surveyed 505 respondents who are representative of the Israeli population over the phone and internet. It has a margin of error of +-4 percent.

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