The center-right Yesh Atid would become Israel’s largest party for the first time if elections were held today, a new poll by Channel 2 television finds.
According to the survey conducted by Machon Midgam, Yesh Atid — headed by former finance minister Yair Lapid — would claim 24 Knesset seats, while Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party would take just 22 seats.
The Zionist Union — an amalgam of the once mighty Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party and currently the second-largest party — would win a paltry 13 seats, making it the fourth largest party along with the Joint (Arab) List. (The poll finds that Yesh Atid’s surge comes largely from Zionist Union, which would see half of its voters switch allegiance to Lapid.)
Zionist Union would also find itself trailing the national-religious Jewish Home, which would take 14 seats — a massive rise from its current eight.
Hawkish Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party would win 10 seats, up from its current six, while United Torah Judaism would claim seven seats (one more than it now has). Shas would lose a seat to take six, while Likud offshoot Kulanu would also win just six seats, losing almost half of its current 10. The left-wing Meretz would remain steady with five seats.
According to Channel 2, the poll sees Lapid as a realistic challenger to Netanyahu’s premiership, and shows his Likud party bleeding voters to both Yisrael Beytenu and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home. The television does stress, however, that Lapid would struggle to form a viable coalition given the theoretical allocation of seats.
The margin of error and breakdown of respondents for the survey were not mentioned.