Poll shows Labor rising, predicts PM’s rivals can form majority coalition

Merav Michaeli, leader of the Labor Party (Courtesy)
Merav Michaeli, leader of the Labor Party (Courtesy)

A Channel 13 poll, conducted two days before parties must finalize their slates and 49 days before the elections, shows Likud slipping and Labor rising. It predicts a potential majority for a coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rivals, sans Likud and without the Arab parties.

According to the poll, Likud is projected to win 29 seats, down three from Channel 13’s previous survey. Yesh Atid and New Hope are neck-and-neck with 16 seats apiece; Yamina and the Joint List both pick up 10 seats; Labor, boosted by its new leadership and newly elected slate, climbs to eight seats; United Torah Judaism picks up eight seats; Shas and Yisrael Beytenu win seven seats each; Meretz picks up five, and Blue and White hovers near the electoral threshold with four seats.

Ron Huldai’s The Israelis, Ofer Shelah’s Tnufah and far-right parties led by Betzalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir all fail to cross the threshold.

Party leaders ahead of the 2021 elections (from left): Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett, Benjamin Netanyahu, Gideon Sa’ar, Benny Gantz (Courtesy)

According to the survey, a coalition of Yesh Atid, New Hope, Yamina, Labor, Yisrael Beytenu, and Blue and White would win 61 seats, giving it a majority in the Knesset. With the left-wing Meretz, it would pick up 66.

Netanyahu’s bloc, of Likud and the two ultra-Orthodox parties, meanwhile, would win just 44.

The survey also indicates that Labor would gain three seats from a merger with Huldai and Shelah, rising to 11 seats.

Toying with other possibilities, the survey tests what would happen if several small far-right parties merged, and if the Ra’am party ran independently from the Joint List. This is seen as Netanyahu’s optimal scenario.

The union of far-right parties would win 6 seats in such an alliance, and Ra’am would win four, it forecasts. Yet it still finds Likud unable to form a coalition, according to the survey, predicting that an outcome like this could foretell fifth elections.

Asked who was best-suited to be prime minister, 35% said Netanyahu, 16% say Gideon Sa’ar, 9% say Naftali Bennett, 7% say Benny Gantz; and just 4% say Yair Lapid.

If a government is formed by Netanyahu’s rivals, 23% prefer Sa’ar lead it; 20% say Bennett, and 19% say Lapid. But a plurality, 27%, say none of the candidates.

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