Gantz's Party Maintains Lead Over Netanyahu's Likud, Election Poll Shows

However, 42 percent of respondents believe Netanyahu is more suitable to serve as Israel's prime minister, while 36 percent think Gantz should lead the country

Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz speaks during an election rally in the northern Israeli coastal city of Haifa, February 11, 2020.

Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party is projected to receive 35 Knesset seats, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud is lagging slightly behind with 33 seats in the run-up to Israel's March 2 general election, a poll released on Thursday by Channel 12 News showed.

Nevertheless, 42 percent of those surveyed believe Netanyahu is more suitable to serve as Israel's prime minister, while 36 percent thought Gantz should be at the helm of the country.

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The number of Knesset seats each political bloc would control remained unchanged from previous polls that showed the center-left bloc gaining ground over the right.

The Joint List, an alliance of four Israeli Arab parties, remains the third largest slate at 13 seats, while the left-wing Labor-Gesher-Meretz slate, which announced its merger in January, is projected to receive nine seats, if the election were held now.  

Ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism are predicted to win 8 seats each, up one seat from the previous poll reported by Channel 12 News.   

Yisrael Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman remains the kingmaker with seven seats. Far-right slate Yamina led by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett is also predicted to receive seven seats. Both Yisrael Beiteinu and Yamina slumped by one seat from previous polls.

The latest Channel 12 poll was conducted among 505 respondents by the Midgam Institute, headed by Mano Geva. It had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.