Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would bleed seats and leave him unable to form a government if elections were held today, a poll by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper published Friday found.
The survey, conducted by pollster Mina Tzemach with Mano Geva of the Midgam Institute, showed that Likud would today only win 25 seats, down from the 31 it won in the March elections, making it impossible for Netanyahu to put together a majority government. At present, the coalition comprises 61 MKs, giving it the narrowest of possible majorities in the 120-member Knesset.
If national elections were held vote today, the poll found, some of Netanyahu’s coalition partners would also lose seats — the Sepahrdi, ultra-Orthodox Shas would go from seven to six, and Likud offshoot Kulanu from 10 to seven. Even projected rises for United Torah Judaism (up from six seats to seven) and the pro-settlement Jewish Home (leaping from its current eight seats to 12) would only yield Netanyahu a coalition of 57 MKs.
The poll found that the situation would be worse for Likud if its former minister Gideon Sa’ar, long perceived as a leadership threat to Netanyahu, returned to politics and joined forces with Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, as the latter has recently suggested. A Kulanu party that included both current finance minister Kahlon and Sa’ar would win 12 seats, while Likud would lose nine from its current total.
(A separate poll released Friday found that 71 percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the current wave of violence.)
The Zionist Union would also take a massive hit if elections were held at present, according to the poll. The faction, an amalgamation of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah, would drop from its current 24 seats to just 18.
The biggest beneficiary if elections took place now would be Yesh Atid, a key member of Netanyahu’s previous government before the prime minister fired its ministers and announced the March elections. The poll found that the centrist party, headed by former journalist and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid, would also claim 18 seats, regaining almost all of the eight seats it lost in March, when it shrank from 19 to just 11.
The poll was conducted on December 28-19, 2015, and included 504 Israelis from a representative cross-section of the population. The margin of error was reported to be 4.5 percent.