Poll shows Sa’ar’s new party gaining more ground, just 6 seats fewer than Likud

An opinion poll published by Channel 12 news shows Likud breakaway MK Gideon Sa’ar’s new party increasing in its popularity and scoring just six Knesset seats less than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, while rival right-wing leader Naftali Bennett’s Yamina and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White both lose ground.

According to the survey, conducted today by the Midgam institute and iPanel, Sa’ar’s New Hope party — including fellow Likud rebel Yifat Shasha-Biton, who said today she joining — would get 21 seats in the 120-member parliament. The poll was conducted before Shasha-Biton joined, but asked respondents about a scenario in which she joins.

The poll predicts 27 seats for Likud, 14 for Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid-Telem, 13 for Yamina, 11 for the Joint List, 8 each for Shas and United Torah Judaism, and 6 each for Blue and White, Yisrael Beytenu and Meretz.

That would mean the path to a new government would be hard since the parties loyal to Netanyahu get only 56 seats, and a center-right bloc consisting of New Hope, Yamina, Yisrael Beytenu, Blue and White and Yesh Atid-Telem has a combined 60. To form a coalition, 61 are needed.

If former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot also joins Sa’ar’s party, it would get 22 seats, the poll says.

Asked who is most fitting to be prime minister, Netanyahu’s name is mention by 33% of respondents, Sa’ar by 18%, Bennet by 9%, Lapid by 8% and Gantz by 7%. Another 18% said none are fitting and 7% said they didn’t know.

The combined phone and online poll surveyed 501 respondents constituting a representative sample of Israeli adults. The margin of error is 4.4%.