By 44% to 30%, Israelis prefer Trump to Biden as next US president

TV survey also shows Gantz favored over Netanyahu as PM by 41% to 29%, while 64% believe Israel should hold early elections; anti-Netanyahu parties seen on 74 of 120 Knesset seats

File: This combo image shows US President Joe Biden, left, January 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, January 19, 2024. (AP Photo)
File: This combo image shows US President Joe Biden, left, January 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, January 19, 2024. (AP Photo)

Forty-four percent of Israelis would rather see former US president Donald Trump return to the White House in 2025, compared to 30% who would prefer US President Joe Biden be elected for a second term, according to a poll published by Channel 12 on Tuesday evening.

An additional 26% said they didn’t know which of the two men they would rather see elected.

Among respondents who voted for parties in the current government coalition, 72% said they preferred Trump while 8% said they preferred Biden. When asked the same question, 55% of respondents who voted for parties sitting in the opposition preferred Biden and 23% said they would rather see Trump return.

The poll was conducted on Tuesday, March 12 and included responses from 504 people representing a sample of the entire population of Israel aged 18 and above. It had a maximum sampling error of 4.4 percentage points.

Moving away from the US political landscape, the survey focused on Israel’s own political turmoil.

The survey was carried out before Gideon Sa’ar’s announcement that he was withdrawing his New Hope faction from Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity party and as a result, did not reflect the impact of his decision on public opinion.

If elections were to be held today, the poll found, Gantz’s party would receive 35 seats, making it the largest party in the Knesset by a considerable margin, despite dropping slightly in comparison to previous polls.

Protesters urging elections march toward Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, March 9, 2024. (Pro-democracy protest movement)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would gain one seat compared to the previous survey, leaving the currently 32-seat-strong party with 19.

The governing coalition — minus National Unity, which joined as an emergency measure at the start of the war with Hamas — would receive 46 seats in total, the poll found, a far cry from the 61 necessary to form a government. The opposition, including Gantz’s party, would receive 74 seats.

According to the poll, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would receive 14 seats, down from its current 24, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party would be the fourth-largest in the Knesset with 11 seats. Following behind Shas, Yisrael Beytenu would receive 10 seats, the far-right Otzma Yehudit would receive nine and the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism would receive seven.

The Arab-majority Hadash-Ta’al party, Islamist party Ra’am and the left-wing Meretz would each receive five seats, rounding out the 120 Knesset seats.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party would fall below the 3.25% minimum voter threshold, as would Labor and Balad.

File: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz at a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Asked who they would prefer to see as Israel’s next prime minister, 41% of respondents said they would prefer Gantz and 29% said they would prefer Netanyahu; 23% said neither was suitable for the position and 7% said they didn’t know who they preferred.

Regarding the timing of Israel’s next elections, 64% of people believe that the country should hold early elections rather than wait until the end of the current government’s term in 2026, the poll found.

Of those who support bringing the date for Israel’s general elections forward, 30% believe that they should be held immediately and 34% believe that they should be held after the end of the war.

Questioned about the ongoing war against Hamas, 49% of people said they believe Israel should immediately establish a State Commission of Inquiry into the events surrounding the October 7 massacre while 43% believe it should be established after the end of the war.

Just 2% of people believe no such commission is needed and 6% said they were unsure.

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