Likud-Beytenu lost five seats in December as Jewish Home doubled, poll finds

Naftali Bennett’s right-wing party grows from six seats to 14 in one month, according to latest voter survey

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett (photo credit: Flash90)
Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett (photo credit: Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beytenu mega-party has lost an estimated five seats — mostly to the ascendant Jewish Home party — in the past month, according to a poll published on Wednesday in Haaretz.

If elections were held today, Likud-Beytenu would win a mere 34 seats — five fewer than an identical poll conducted a month earlier — a Dialog poll conducted on Monday by Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University found. Last week’s Dialog poll gave Likud-Beytenu, which currently controls 42 seats in the Knesset, 35 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party gained one seat in the past week, making it the third largest in the Knesset with 14. A month ago, polls indicated Bennett’s far right party would win six seats in the January 22 elections.

Despite the setback for Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman, the prime minister can still easily form a 67 seat coalition with right wing and religious parties. The center-left bloc, according to the latest poll, would win 53 seats.

Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor Party dropped one seat between the December 23 and December 31 polls, from 17 seats to 16, which would make the center-left party the Knesset’s second largest. Haaretz noted that given current trends, Jewish Home could potentially replace Labor as the second largest party in the Knesset.

The religious Shas party was expected to win 11 seats, and the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party six. Arab parties were slated to win a total of 12 seats, and the left-wing Meretz party four.

Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party remained static at 10 and nine seats, respectively. Further inquiry by the pollsters found that, relative to other parties, the voter bases of Lapid’s and Livni’s parties, which are participating in their first elections, are less stable than their more established competitors.

“About 40 percent of Livni voters were deliberating between her, Lapid and other parties. On the other hand, about 50% of Lapid’s voters were debating voting for other parties, or had not yet fully resolved to vote for Lapid,” Haaretz reported.

Kadima, currently the largest party in the Knesset with 28 seats, remained only just above the threshold and was projected to win the minimum two seats. The Otzma Leyisrael (Power to Israel) party also polled above the threshold and would win two seats.

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