A poll by Mina Tzemach and Meno Geva of the Midgam Research Institute, in collaboration with iPanel, finds that, for the first time in years, Benjamin Netanyahu would not be able to form a government if elections were held now. The big winner in the poll is Yair Lapid. The poll was published by Channel 2.
According to the poll, Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, which has been continually strengthening in all public opinion surveys, would win 26 Knesset seats. The main news, however, is where the party's latest additional seats come from. There is now a trend of Yesh Atid prospering at the expense of the right; the Likud and its natural partners. Yair Lapid has succeeded in doing what Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog failed to do in the past, which it is to take votes away from Benjamin Netanyahu's block and make it shrink.
In the current poll, Likud is on 22 seats, two fewer than in the previous poll, possibly because of the police investigations of Netanyahu. The Arab Joint List wins 13 seats, Zionist Union 11, and Habayit Hayehudi also 11. There were also interesting results for the smaller parties: United Torah Judaism wins 7 seats, as do Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party and Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beitenu. Shas wins 6 seats, as does Meretz.
The party being set up by former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon is on the edge of the minimum threshold for being allocated Knesset seats, with just 4. Even before it has been officially founded, half of the new party's potential voters have abandoned it and transferred allegiance to Yair Lapid. Three out of Ya'alon's four putative seats come from voters on the right. Clearly on the basis of figures like these a leadership challenge by Ya'alon cannot survive. He will probably have to run with another party.
What about the alliance to block Netanyahu, those who say they will not recommend him to the president to form a government and will not sit in a coalition with him? According to the current poll, that alliance now numbers 60, which mean that for the first time in many years, at least on paper, a blocking alliance exists that will prevent Netanyahu from forming a government. The alliance consists of Zionist Union, Meretz, Yesh Atid, Ya'alon's party, and the Joint List.
The limitations of opinion polls are well known, certainly two years and eight months before elections are due to be held. They are, however, tools for politicians, who, when they see the unfavorable numbers for Netanyahu, Kahlon, Liberman, and the haredi parties, can be understood if they back Netanyahu in the midst of the investigations, contrary to what might perhaps be expected of them. They realize that the polls bode no good for any of them. Elections now would almost certainly shrink all the coalition parties.
The Likud said in a statement following publication of the poll, "The left will continue to win in Mina Tzemach's polls, and the Likud headed by Netanyahu will continued to win at the ballot box."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 12, 2017
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