Final polls: Blue and White leads, but right-wing bloc unanimously stronger

Israel Hayom survey shows Gantz’s centrist alliance picking up 4 more seats than the ruling party, but Netanyahu remains best positioned to form government

This combination of pictures created on April 2, 2019 shows (L) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz. (Ronen Zvulun and Jack Guez/AFP)
This combination of pictures created on April 2, 2019 shows (L) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz. (Ronen Zvulun and Jack Guez/AFP)

The final batch of polls conducted before Tuesday’s elections showed the centrist Blue and White widening its lead over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, even as the surveys unanimously indicated that the incumbent prime minister was best positioned to form the next government.

Friday is by law the last day on which surveys can be released before the ballot boxes open on Tuesday morning.

An Israel Hayom/i24 News poll published Friday projected the centrist Blue and White party would win 32 seats in the upcoming vote, five more than the right-wing Likud, which was predicted to win 27 seats. However, the poll found that right-wing bloc led by the Likud would beat the center-left bloc by a substantial margin.

The survey projected right-wing parties winning 64 seats in total. In addition to Likud’s 27, the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism was slated to win 8 seats, followed by the center-right Kulanu, the right-wing Union of Right Wing Parties, the right-wing Zehut, and the New Right with six apiece. The ultra-Orthodox Shas party was polling at five seats, while the hawkish Yisrael Beytenu and centrist Gesher parties did not pass the 3.25% electoral threshold.

Meanwhile, the center-left camp was projected to take 56 seats in total, with nine for center-left Labor, six for Hadash-Ta’al, five for left-wing Meretz and four for Ra’am-Balad.

To secure a majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Blue and White will likely be unable to build a ruling coalition without the support of parties on the right.

The Israel Hayom survey also gauged the percentage of voters for parties who are sure of their vote. At the top of the list was Labor with 77%, followed by United Right Wing Party (76%), Blue and White (72%), UTJ (71%) and Likud (70%). At the bottom are Meretz (48%) and Ta’al-Hadash (47%).

Some 52% of respondents said Netanyahu would be Israel’s next prime minister, as opposed to 27% who said it would be Gantz. The poll conducted by the Maagar Mohot Institute surveyed 1,002 Israeli adults on April 4 and had a margin of error of 3.1%.

A poll by Smith Research for the Jerusalem Post published Friday showed Gantz’s Blue and White picking up 28 seats, with Netanyahu’s Likud at its heels with 27. But it found that overall the right and center-right would control 68 seats compared to 52 from the center and left.

Another survey published Friday evening by Channel 13 news had Likud and Blue and White polling even at 28 seats, after a poll published by the network earlier in the week gave the former a one-seat advantage. Like other polls, right-wing and religious parties were forecast to win a majority of Knesset seats.

A poll published late Thursday by public broadcaster Kan gave the right a narrower, although still decisive, lead of 64 to 56.

A worker prepares ballot boxes March 25, 2019 at the Central Elections Committee warehouse in Shoham, before they are shipped to polling stations for the April 9 Israeli election. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

“Past polls have shown that nearly one out of every six or seven voters makes a decision only in the last two days before the elections, and it isn’t clear what will be the dynamic of the coming few days,” the Maariv daily wrote Friday.

On Friday, Yedioth Ahrohonth also published a poll that similarly showed Blue and White leading over the Likud. That survey projected Gantz’s party winning 30 seats, while Netanyahu’s party was slated to take 26. In third place was the Labor party with 11 seats, followed by UTJ (7), Hadash-Taal (7), The New Right (6). Meretz (5), Kulanu (5), Shas (5), Zehut (5) the Union of Right Wing Parties (5) Yisrael Beytenu (4), and Ra’am-Balad (4). Yedioth Ahronoth also predicted that Orly Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher party would fail to pass the threshold.

Channel 12’s final election poll published Thursday night — conducted by the same pollster as the Yedioth survey — showed a similar trend. The poll predicted Blue and White winning 30 seats, while the Likud polled at 26 seats. The poll showed Labor winning 10 seats, Hadash-Ta’al and Union of Right Wing Parties with seven, New Right with six, while the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, left-wing Meretz, right-wing Zehut, center-right Kulanu and former defense minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu received five seats each. Also picking up five seats was the Union of Right-Wing Parties.

Rounding out the Channel 12 poll with four seats was Ra’am-Balad, an alliance of two Arab parties that, along with Hadash-Ta’al, made up the Joint List in the outgoing Knesset. According to Channel 12, in total, Blue and White, along with center-left and Arab parties, would receive 56 seats, versus 64 for Likud with the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties.

The TV news station said that its survey also factored in the likelihood that supporters of the two parties would vote.

Asked who they preferred to be prime minister, 36% of poll respondents said Netanyahu, only just beating out Gantz at 35%. Despite this parity, 58% of those polled said they believed Netanyahu will be premier after elections, with only 21% saying Gantz would become leader. The poll was conducted by the Midgam polling firm. It included 1,290 responds and a 2.8% margin of error.

That final polls again reflect the easier route Netanyahu is expected to have in cobbling together a ruling coalition in light of the overall strength of right-wing parties.

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