Poll indicates Netanyahu-led bloc inching toward majority with 60 seats

Latest survey has opposition leader just one short of the required minimum to form a government; the bloc led by Lapid forecast to win 54 seats

Tobias (Toby) Siegal is a breaking news editor and contributor to The Times of Israel.

Then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 11, 2020 (left); Yesh Atid-Telem leader Yair Lapid in December 2019. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 11, 2020 (left); Yesh Atid-Telem leader Yair Lapid in December 2019. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

A Channel 13 poll released on Tuesday indicated that the bloc led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would win 60 seats in the upcoming election, just one seat short of the minimum majority required to form a government.

Conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs from Tel Aviv University ahead of a conference organized by the news channel on Tuesday, the poll found that the largest party following the November 1 elections would again be Likud, with 35 seats.

Following are Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party with 24 seats, the Blue and White-New Hope merged party led by Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa’ar with 13 seats, and the Religious Zionism party led by Bezalel Smotrich with 11 seats.

The ultra-Orthodox parties Shas, led by Aryeh Deri, and United Torah Judaism, led by Moshe Gafni, would win 8 and 6 seats, respectively, according to the poll.

The mostly Arab Joint List, led by Ayman Odeh, would also win 6 seats, the poll found.

Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party would win 5 seats, followed by Labor, Meretz and Ra’am with 4 seats apiece, each barely crossing the threshold required to enter the Knesset.

Tuesday’s poll shows Yamina, led by Ayelet Shaked, still failing to cross the electoral threshold.

As far as blocs go, the poll suggested that Netanyahu’s bloc would receive 60 seats compared to 54 seats for the Lapid-led bloc.

Workers hang an election campaign billboard for the Likud Party showing a portrait of its leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lower right, and opposition party leader Yair Lapid, upper right, next to a billboard of the Yisrael Beitenu Party showing its leader Avigdor Lieberman, in Bnei Brak, March. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Despite the two parties’ relatively poor performance in polls, Labor’s leader Merav Michaeli has said repeatedly that she will not unite with Meretz ahead of the upcoming elections.

Meretz, currently headed by outgoing chair Nitzan Horowitz, is set to hold primaries on August 23 to elect its new leader. Former party leader Zehava Galon is expected to compete against Meretz MK Yair Golan for the top position.

A recent Channel 13 poll showed that headed by Galon, Meretz would get five seats, compared to four if MK Yair Golan, her sole challenger, were to win the party primaries.

Galon has said that if she is elected party chair, she will fight for a merger with Labor.

Then-Meretz leader Zehava Galon, left, speaks to thousands of Israeli Left-wing activists during a rally in Tel-Aviv on May 27, 2017; Labor leader Merav Michaeli attends a conference in Rishon Lezion on July 19, 2022. (Gili Yaari/Flash90); (Flash90)

Asked whether they would rather see a government that includes far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir or a unity government with the Islamist party Ra’am, led by Mansour Abbas, 40% said they would prefer a government with Ben Gvir in it and 20% said they would prefer a government with Ra’am. Some 30% said both options were undesirable.

The poll also asked participants whether they were expected to vote differently compared to the last round of elections last year.

About 61% said they hadn’t changed their vote or hadn’t voted at all, while 19% said they will vote differently but for a party from the same bloc. Thirteen percent said they hadn’t decided yet and 7% said they would vote differently and for a party from the opposing bloc.

Asked what influenced their decision on whom to vote for, the vast majority (73%) said they made their decision alone and were not influenced by anyone else, while 9% said they followed “the most convincing leader,” 8% said other, unspecified factors influenced their decision, 5% said family and friends were likely to influence their choice, and 5% said they didn’t know.

Regarding Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial, most participants (71%) said the trial did not influence their choice, while only 17% said it did. Another 12% said they didn’t know.

Some 40% of participants indicated that Netanyahu represents their core values, while 30% said Lapid does. The remaining 26% said neither of them does.

Israeli TV polls are notably unreliable, but nevertheless, often steer the decision-making of politicians.

The poll had 721 participants with a margin of error of 3.7%.

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