A poll published on Monday showed the right-wing bloc making gains over a potential center-left challenge, with a handful of small right-wing parties clearing the electoral threshold, in a boost for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the Channel 13 survey of 1,304 Israelis, the right-wing bloc would receive 64 seats after Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu manage to clear the threshold and snag four seats apiece.
By contrast, the Blue and White-led center-left bloc would only receive 56 seats and would not be able to form a coalition, the survey indicated. The figure includes 12 seats held by Arab parties, which may not recommend Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for prime minister, and which Gantz has indicated he would not invite to partner him in a coalition.
The poll came after a series of surveys over the weekend showed similar drops in support for the Blue and White party and the center-left, which had appeared to be in a dead-heat with Likud-led parties just last week.
Two of those polls had shown Yisrael Beytenu failing to make it into the Knesset, but the Channel 13 survey projected the party led by Avigdor Liberman would squeak in, giving Netanyahu another likely coalition partner.
Netanyahu continued to lead over rival Gantz of Blue and White in terms of suitability to serve as prime minister, with 47 percent of respondents backing him for the job, compared to 37% for Gantz. The remaining 16% said they did not know.
A survey earlier this month showed Gantz edging Netanyahu in that category for the first time.
The Monday poll estimated that Blue and White would receive 31 seats (similar to a previous poll), followed by the Likud with 28, as the gap between the two front-running parties narrowed.
Next came Labor, Union of Right-Wing Parties, and Hadash-Ta’al with seven seats each; and then New Right, United Torah Judaism, and Meretz with six. Shas and Ra’am Balad were predicted to receive five seats, and Yisrael Beytenu, Kulanu, and Zehut came in with four seats each. Orly Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher Party would not cross the threshold, according to the projection.
Blue and White’s fall in the poll from an average of 36 seats in polls conducted last week could indicate that the recent decision by the attorney general to press charges, pending a hearing, in the criminal investigations against Netanyahu may not have as significant an effect on the outcome of the April 9 vote as some had originally estimated.
A Haaretz survey on Saturday also showed that Blue and White would win 31 seats in the Knesset, making it the largest party and placing above Likud’s 28, though there, too, the right-wing and religious bloc would gain more seats in total than the center, center-left and Arab parties.
Polls in recent days have consistently shown the Zehut party entering the Knesset. Though led by right-wing figure Moshe Feiglin, the libertarian pro-marijuana party has not committed to backing Netanyahu for prime minister.
While horse-race polls are an almost daily occurrence in Israel in the weeks leading up to elections and are not seen as overly reliable, taken together, the surveys can often serve as a general gauge of the political climate and where the vote may be headed.