Eight months ago, Israelis stunned pundits and experts and gave a huge electoral showing to the newest party in Israeli politics, Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.
At 19 seats, Yesh Atid passed Labor and Jewish Home to become the second-largest party in parliament. That success led to speculation — indeed, to an unhelpful quip by Lapid himself — that Yesh Atid’s popular leader was on track to the premiership.
But the polls since election day have been less favorable. The latest, conducted by Rafi Smith for the economic journal Globes, showed continued decline in support for newbie Yesh Atid and a flow of voters to the oldest among the Knesset’s 12 parties — Likud, Labor, and Meretz. A comparison of the late-August poll with another one conducted in June for Globes suggests the shift is a meaningful trend, and not a momentary hiccup for Yesh Atid.
From 19 seats won on election day in January, Yesh Atid dropped to 14 in the Rafi Smith poll in June, and to an even lower 12 in the latest poll, published this week.
Hatnua, the other brand-new party in the current Knesset, also saw a dip, from six seats on election day to three in June and four today.
The best news is reserved for the left, which seems to be attracting the disaffected center. While Yesh Atid and Hatnua shed a combined nine seats compared to election day, Labor and Meretz increased by eight.
For a left that hasn’t been in power since the ignominious ouster of then-prime minister Ehud Barak in 2001, and in fact has held the premiership for only two years in the last 17, the latest polls are welcome news indeed.
Meretz was by far the biggest winner in recent polling, rising in the latest Globes poll from six seats on election day to 10 in June, and an even higher 11 by late August.
Labor, which got a disappointing 15 seats in January, rose to 18 in both June and August.
The Likud-Yisrael Beytenu joint list, meanwhile, had a slight bump, from 31 on election day to 33 in both June and August — still a disappointing showing compared to the combined 42 they held when they ran as separate lists in the previous Knesset.