A poll aired on the Knesset Channel on Monday showed that a center-left alliance of Isaac Herzog’s Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua could garner more votes than Likud in the next elections.
According to the poll, a joint Herzog-Livni list would receive 23 seats, compared to Likud’s 21. If the two ran separately, Hatnua would not pass the electoral threshold and Labor would only receive 17 seats.
If the two ran together, the poll further showed, the right-wing Jewish Home party would be the third-largest party with 18 seats. Yisrael Beytenu, Yesh Atid, and ex-Likud minister Moshe Kahlon’s unnamed party would snag nine seats apiece. The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism would get eight seats, Shas would receive seven, and the left-wing Meretz would receive six. The Arab party Ra’am Ta’al and left-wing Hadash party were pegged to receive five seats apiece, whereas the Arab Balad party would not pass the threshold.
If Labor and Hatnua did not merge, the poll showed, Likud still received 21 seats, followed by Labor’s 17. The remaining seats were divided among Yesh Atid (12), Yisrael Beytenu (10), Kahlon (10), and Meretz (seven). The Jewish Home, ultra-Orthodox and Arab parties would be unaffected.
The PanelsPolitics survey had a sample size of 500 respondents, with a margin of error of 4.5%.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ratings continued to dip, though he still remained the leading candidate for prime minister. Twenty-six percent of participants said he was the most suitable candidate, 15% said Herzog, and 11% said Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.
Speaking at a Labor faction meeting on Monday, Herzog said: “The Labor party is returning to be the ruling party.”
“We will do this, in part, by leading a large centrist bloc — which means a large Labor party,” he said. “It’s clear to all of us that we have the best interests of the state in mind, and we aspire to lead it in a completely different direction than the way it has been led in the past few years.”
Addressing her own faction meeting, Livni said the elections present “an opportunity to replace the prime minister, to create a new government.”
On Saturday, Livni confirmed that her party was on the verge of sealing a deal to merge with Herzog’s Labor ahead of the March 2015 elections, asserting that such an alliance would offer Israeli voters a viable alternative to Netanyahu and Likud. Herzog declared over the weekend that he would become Israel’s next prime minister by leading a centrist bloc that would defeat Netanyahu.
However, the former justice minister was to meet with Yair Lapid on Monday to discuss a possible alliance with Yesh Atid.
Despite the reports of an imminent deal between Herzog and Livni, Yesh Atid sources told Israel Radio the pact was not finalized.
Lapid is said to have proposed giving Livni and her colleagues in Hatnua four spots on his party’s list. Yesh Atid is also reportedly considering a partnership with former Likud MK Moshe Kahlon’s as yet unnamed faction, which according to early polls, is expected to be popular.
Earlier Monday, Lapid vowed: “Yesh Atid will lead the center bloc.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.