Polls Reflect Mixed Reactions to UAE Deal, but Netanyahu-led Bloc Keeps Majority

Effect of UAE deal on prime minister's support is unclear, but numbers are similar to other polls in recent weeks amid coalition crisis

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Haaretz
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Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference in Jerusalem on August 13, 2020.
Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference in Jerusalem on August 13, 2020. Credit: Abir SULTAN / POOL / AFP
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Haaretz

Two public opinion polls published Sunday by Israel’s Channel 12 News and Channel 13 News fail to provide a clear insight into how Thursday’s announcement on normalizing ties with the United Arab Emirates would affect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral power, but both predict a Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc would get a solid Knesset majority in a general election.

The results are in line with other public opinion polls published over the past weeks, as a coalition crisis over Israel’s state budget raised the prospects of a fourth election within two years. Netanyahu’s Likud party and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan have both said in recent days that the crisis has ended and they don’t expect an early election at this point.

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The Channel 12 poll gives Likud 30 out of 120 Knesset seats, a one-seat drop from its last poll published last week, whereas the Channel 13 poll shows a four-seat rise, putting Likud at 33 seats. It currently has 36 seats.

Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, which has lost many supporters after it joined Netanyahu’s coalition following Israel’s latest election, is predicted to receive  between 10 and 12 seats, far behind far-right slate Yamina with 18-19 seats, Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon’s Yesh Atid-Telem with 16-20 seats and the Arab-majority alliance Joint List with 12-15 seats.

Ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism is predicted to get 6-8 seats and Shas seven, and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu 7-8 seats. They currently hold seven, nine and seven Knesset seats, respectively.

Left-wing party Meretz is predicted to get six seats in both polls. Labor, which ran with Meretz in Israel’s March election, as well as Derech Eretz, which ran with Gantz’s Kahol Lavan but split after the election, don’t pass the 3.25-percent electoral threshold in either poll.

The Channel 12 News poll was conducted by the Midgam Institute and included 509 respondents, with a 4.4-percent margin of error. The Channel 13 News poll was conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs and included 699 respondents, with a 3.9-percent margin of error.

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