Week Before Election, New Poll Puts Zionist Union Ahead of Netanyahu's Likud

Knesset Channel poll gives Zionist Union the lead with 24 seats, 3 more than Likud; Yesh Atid now the third largest party at 14 seats.

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Israeli opposition Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog visits an open market during an election campaign rally in the city of Lod, about 15 kms east of Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2015.Credit: AFP

Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union has maintained its 24-to-21-seat lead against Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud in the Knesset Channel's latest poll, suggesting that the prime minister's speech to Congress last week hasn't buoyed his party before the March 17 election.

According to the poll results released Tuesday, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would come in third in the 120-seat parliament at 14 seats — the party's best showing this election season.

Zionist Union is the joint slate of Herzog's Labor Party and Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah. The station's previous poll came out just before Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress a week ago.

Both surveys project 13 seats for the Joint List of Arab parties and 12 for Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party has edged up to nine seats from eight, while left-wing Meretz has eased to five seats from six.

Support for the ultra-Orthodox parties is stable. Shas is unchanged at seven seats and United Torah Judaism is down to six seats from seven.

In the poll, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu comes in at five seats and Eli Yishai's Yahad Ha'am Itanu at four. Parties must receive at least 3.25 percent of the vote — four seats — to make it into the Knesset.

The Knesset Channel polled more than 1,000 people, many more than usual for such surveys.

Based on the poll, Herzog could have the support of 56 Knesset members to form a government, compared with 55 at best for Netanyahu. Herzog would have the support of Yesh Atid, Joint List  and Meretz, while Netanyahu would have the support, at best, of Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beiteinu and Yahad Ha'am Itanu.

Shas chief Arye Dery and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman have not ruled out supporting Herzog instead of Netanyahu. Kulanu's Kahlon has said he would not make any recommendation to President Reuven Rivlin on who should form a government.

In the poll, respondents were also asked how they characterize themselves politically. Only 8 percent of Jews said they were left-wing, while 35 percent said they were right-wing.

This is the Knesset Channel’s last poll before the election.