Poll: 43% of Israelis back Bennett-Lapid coalition, Netanyahu’s bloc would shrink in new elections

Hours before Prime Minister Netanyahu’s mandate to form a new government expires, Channel 13 news publishes a poll on Israelis’ preferences for who will head the next coalition, as well as who they will vote for if fifth elections are held.

The network says 43 percent of respondents back a government that will see Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid switch off as prime minister, while a third back a Bennett-Netanyahu coalition. About a quarter of remaining respondents didn’t have an opinion.

Yamina voters, however, are not enthused about the prospect of teaming up with Lapid, with only 24% of the party’s voters backing joining a “change” government.” Over half say they prefer Bennett join with Netanyahu, while a quarter opposes both options.

Among supporters of Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party, which opposes joining a Netanyahu-led government, two-thirds back a government of anti-Netanyahu parties, according to the survey.

In the case of direct elections for prime minister — a proposal Netanyahu has been pushing, but which currently lacks majority support — 41% of respondents say they’ll vote for the prime minister, versus 36% for Lapid.

If new elections were held today, the poll says Likud would remain the largest party, but further shrink from 30 to 28 seats. Yesh Atid would grow to 21 seats, while Yamina would become the third-largest party with 11 seats.

The survey says Shas would drop to seven seats, and that United Torah Judaism and Labor would also each get seven. Blue and White would remain at eight, while both New Hope and Joint List would retain their current strength of six seats apiece.

The right-wing secularist Yisrael Beytenu party would slip to five seats, the same number the poll gave to the left-wing Meretz and far-right Religious Zionism. The Islamist Ra’am party was forecast to again win four seats.

Overall, the “change bloc” of anti-Netanyahu parties would have 58 seats, while Netanyahu’s right-wing religious bloc would have 47 — down from its current 52 — both short of a majority. Such an outcome would again position Yamina and Ra’am as potential kingmakers or in Bennett’s case, even king.

Asked what they believe the chances are of a fifth round of elections since April 2019, 60% of respondents believe that is the most likely outcome.

The internet poll, conducted by the “Midgam Project,” included 669 respondents and had a 3.8% margin of error, according to the network.

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