Election poll shows drop in support of Blue and White
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Election poll shows drop in support of Blue and White

While the centrist political alliance garners 31 seats — above Likud’s 28 — Saturday survey indicates right-wing and religious bloc more likely to form coalition

Blue and White party members (L-R) Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon during a press conference in the Golan Heights on March 4, 2019. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
Blue and White party members (L-R) Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon during a press conference in the Golan Heights on March 4, 2019. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

Support for Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White electoral alliance has dropped among the general public, according to a poll released Saturday evening, potentially making it difficult for the party to cobble together a governing majority.

While the Haaretz survey showed that Blue and White would win 31 seats in the 120-member Knesset, making it the largest party and placing above Likud’s 28, the right-wing and religious bloc would gain more seats in total than the center, center-left and Arab parties.

Blue and White’s fall in the poll from an average of 36 seats in polls conducted last week could indicate that the recent decision by the attorney general to press charges, pending a hearing, in the criminal investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may not have as significant an effect on the outcome of the April 9 vote as some had originally estimated.

While horse-race polls are an almost daily occurrence in Israel in the weeks leading up to elections and are not seen as overly reliable, taken together the surveys can often serve as a general gauge of the political climate and where the vote may be headed.

According to the poll, conducted on Thursday under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, Labor would be the third largest party with 10 seats, followed by the Hadash-Ta’al union of two Arab-Israeli parties and the United Right-Wing Parties, both gaining eight seats.

The New Right party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would gain seven seats, as would the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party. The ultra-Orthodox Shas party would win five seats, while the left-wing Meretz, the centrist Kulanu, and Ra’am-Balad, a second union of two Arab-Israeli parties, all scored four seats, the lowest possible amount needed in order to enter the Knesset.

The poll found that political outsider Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party, which has been gaining steam in the past weeks, would get four seats as well, contrary to previous surveys which indicated that the faction would fall below the 3.25 percent Knesset threshold.

While Zehut is considered a right-wing party with libertarian tendencies, its dedication to advancing personal freedom overlaps with many center-left policies. Feiglin, a former Likud candidate, is also a vocal critic of Netanyahu, and has stressed that he would not necessarily join a government headed by Likud.

The right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party, headed by former defense minister Avigdor Liberman, and Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher party fail to enter the Knesset, according to the poll.

The survey was conducted among a representative sample of 800 likely voters in the upcoming Knesset elections. The margin of error is +/-3.5% with a 95% confidence level.

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