ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Election poll shows Gantz at 43 seats, Netanyahu’s Likud at 18, Smotrich out

Wartime survey finds coalition parties would crash to 41 seats, opposition parties would skyrocket to 79; respondents prefer Gantz to Netanyahu as PM, 52%-27%

Benny Gantz speaks at the launch of the National Unity party campaign for the upcoming elections in Tel Aviv, September 6, 2022.(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Benny Gantz speaks at the launch of the National Unity party campaign for the upcoming elections in Tel Aviv, September 6, 2022.(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

If elections were to be held in Israel today, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party would fail to win the 3.25 percent vote minimum to enter the Knesset, a poll published on Thursday night has found.

The survey published by Hebrew news outlet Maariv was conducted between November 15 and 16, and so does not reflect any potential change in the opinions of voters following the Israel-Hamas hostage deal and the four-day temporary ceasefire that came into effect at 7 a.m. on Friday morning.

The drop in support for the far-right Religious Zionism, which secured 14 seats in a joint run with Otzma Yehudit in the November 2022 elections, follows a trend seen in other wartime polls published in recent weeks.

According to the survey, parties in the current government, which together won 64 seats in November 2022, would crash to just 41 seats out of 120 if elections were to be held today, while parties in the “change” alliance combined with the Arab Hadash-Taal would soar to 79.

Benny Gantz’s National Unity party has continued to rise in popularity and would secure 43 seats compared to the 12 it currently holds. In comparison, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would win just 18 seats, compared to the 32 it won in November 2022.

The survey gave the parties’ seats as follows (current seats in parentheses): National Unity 43 (12); Likud 18 (32); Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 13 (24); Shas 9 (11); Yisrael Beytenu 8 (6); United Torah Judaism 7 (7); Otzmah Yehudit 7 (14 as part of an alliance with Religious Zionism); Hadash-Taal 5 (5); Meretz 5 (0); Ra’am 5 (5).

Along with Religious Zionism, the center-left Labor, which won four seats last November, would fall below the minimum vote threshold with just 2.2% of the vote.

Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich celebrates election results on March 23, 2021. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

In response to the question of whether Netanyahu or Gantz is more suited to be prime minister, 52% of respondents said Gantz, 27% said Netanyahu and 21% said they didn’t know.

When the question was directed at Likud voters, 56% said they still believed Netanyahu should lead the country, while 26% said they would back Gantz. The remaining 18% said that they didn’t know.

Inside the National Unity party, 98% of voters said they would back Gantz for prime minister, while just 2% said they didn’t know, indicating a much more cohesive voter base. Among Yesh Atid voters, 85% said they believed Gantz was more suited for the role, and just 1% backed Netanyahu.

In a separate poll published alongside the primary one, participants were asked how they would cast their vote if former prime minister Naftali Bennett and former minister Yoaz Hendel were to return to politics.

The results found that if Bennett would run as the head of a right-wing liberal party, separate from Hendel, he would win 15 seats while Hendel would win five. If the two were to run together under Bennett’s leadership, they would win 18 seats in total.

Their voter base would be pulled primarily from the National Unity party, Yesh Atid, Likud, Religious Zionism and Ayelet Shaked’s Jewish Home, which failed to pass the threshold in November 2022, leading to her withdrawal from politics.

The polling numbers were published on day 49 of Israel’s war with Hamas, which was sparked when some 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists massacred over 1,200 people in southern Israel, most of them civilians, and seized some 240 hostages, triggering the war in which Israel has vowed to destroy the terror group.

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