Netanyahu remains preferred PM, but Gantz is now close behind, poll finds
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Netanyahu remains preferred PM, but Gantz is now close behind, poll finds

Survey shows three percentage points separate the premier and the ex-IDF chief; a second poll shows Likud, with projected 32 seats, far ahead of any other rival party

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a September 11, 2013, Navy ceremony (photo credit: AP Photo: Dan Balilty)
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a September 11, 2013, Navy ceremony (photo credit: AP Photo: Dan Balilty)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to lead as Israelis’ preferred candidate for prime minister, but former IDF chief Benny Gantz appears to be closing the gap, according to a new survey released Tuesday.

The Channel 10 poll found that when presented with a choice between the two, 41 percent of the public chose Netanyahu while 38 percent picked Gantz. Twenty-one percent were undecided.

When asked to choose between Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Netanyahu won 45 percent of the vote while Lapid got 29 percent, and 26 percent, were undecided.

Gantz’s Israel Resilience party has so far been polling at a far second to Netanyahu’s Likud, ahead of the April 9 election. The prime minister’s party has been polling at around 30 of the 120 Knesset seats in recent months, while Gantz has been hovering around 14 seats. Yesh Atid is projected to win 10-13 seats.

The Channel 10 poll also found that nearly half of the public, 49 percent, do not believe Netanyahu’s claims that his criminal investigations are being conducted unfairly, while 33 percent believe him and 18 percent are undecided. However, among the Jewish public, those who believe Netanyahu amount to 38 percent.

The poll was conducted among 694 respondents representative of the Israeli public, and had a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid leads a faction meeting in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on December 17, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A poll by the Walla news site Tuesday showed that Likud continues to maintain its significant lead over all other challengers, with 32 seats.

The poll had Yesh Atid taking second place with 13 seats, followed by the Joint (Arab) List with 12 (though that list’s future is now unclear after MK Ahmad Tibi announced Tuesday his party was breaking ranks and would run separately), Israel Resilience with 12, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right at 8, Labor at 8, and United Torah Judaism at 7. Shas, Meretz, Kulanu and Jewish Home each received 5, while Yisrael Beytenu and Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher each won 4. Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua would not pass the electoral threshold, according to the poll.

The Walla poll was conducted among 527 respondents with a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

The electoral field continues to be unstable, with shakeups, splits and new lists an almost daily occurrence. It was less than two weeks ago that Gantz formally announced the formation of his party and that Bennett and Shaked left Jewish Home to form the New Right. A week ago, Labor chairman Avi Gabbay surprised his partner Livni by announcing he was ending their union and splitting the Zionist Union faction into its constituent Labor and Hatnua parties. And on Tuesday former army general Gal Hirsch announced that he was also forming his own party.

Meanwhile, talk continues of possible unions between parties on the right and on the center-left, which could further upend the projected seat map.

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