The latest election poll published Saturday showed that with 52 days until Israel’s next election, Benjamin Netanyahu remains just shy of the majority he needs to return to power, and political deadlock persists.
In the Channel 12 poll, Netanyahu’s right-wing and religious bloc stands at 59 seats, while the anti-Netanyahu coalition is projected to win 56 seats. The non-aligned Joint List gets the remaining five.
The poll projects Netanyahu’s Likud winning 32 seats; Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 23; Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa’ar’s National Unity 12; Religious Zionism 11; Shas 9; United Torah Judaism 7; Meretz 6; Joint List 5; Yisrael Beytenu 5; Labor 5; Ra’am 5.
Ayelet Shaked’s Zionist Spirit continues to lose support, now polling at 1.1%, far below the 3.25% needed to enter the Knesset. After seeing some tentative support in a previous poll, the social media-trending Fiery Youth party of Hadar Muchtar crashes to 0.4%.
No candidate has a clear path to power in the new poll. Israeli TV polls are often too small to accurately predict election results, with margins of error large enough to sway as many as five seats, but they can offer a general overview of public opinion and often influence jockeying between politicians.
The poll conducted Thursday questioned 504 people who constitute a representative sample of the voting population, and had a margin of error of 4.4%.
Also Saturday, National Unity’s no. 3, former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, told Channel 12 that he believes the party must get a near-20 seat result to have the legitimacy to lead a government.
Gantz has sought to cast himself as a centrist compromise candidate who is the only person likely to be able to form a government not led by Netanyahu following the election.
In an interview with Channel 12’s Meet the Press, Eisenkot said that 11-12 seats were not enough for a party to effectively take the mantle of leadership, pointing to the Yamina party’s difficulty in doing so in the outgoing government of Naftali Bennett after winning seven seats (which eventually dwindled to five).
Speaking to Channel 13, Eisenkot said that prior to joining with Gantz, Lapid “gave me a very generous offer, offered me to be his number 2,” but that he decided to join with Gantz because he believes “he is the most fitting person to form a government.”