Poll: Likud still has no clear path to gov’t; PM’s rivals could form narrow one

A new poll suggests that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still has no clear path to forming a government, despite his Likud remaining the largest party. His rivals on the right, left, and center could narrowly form a coalition, though there are large ideological differences between them.

The Channel 12 survey, which comes 77 days before the March elections are set to be held, gives Likud 27 seats; Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope 18; Naftali Bennett’s Yamina 14; Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 13; the Joint List 10; Shas 8; United Torah Judaism 8; Ron Huldai’s The Israelis 6; Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu 6; Meretz 5; and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White 5.

Netanyahu and his right-wing and ultra-Orthodox allies would win just 57 seats, four short of a majority.

A coalition of the right-wing New Hope, Yamina, and Yisrael Beytenu, and the centrist Yesh Atid and Blue and White, along with the center-left The Israelis would garner 62 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, it predicts.

Netanyahu remains the preferred candidate for prime minister, with 27%, followed by Sa’ar (16%), Lapid (14%), Bennett (13%), and Gantz (6%).

The survey also suggests that Yamina would pick up more seats without its hard-right member Betzalel Smotrich (14 vs. 16)