A new poll by Israel Radio found that the main Likud and Zionist Union parties would win fewer Knesset seats if elections were held today, while centrist Yesh Atid would almost double its showing. Likud would still remain the largest party, the survey showed.
The telephone poll held Wednesday among 500 respondents representing a cross-section of Israeli society (men and women, Jewish and Arab, aged 18 or over) found that Likud would win 26 seats if elections were held today. The party, which currently has 30 seats in the Knesset, was also predicted to lose seats in a January poll, when it was down to 28, and again a February survey, which put it at 27.
The new survey found that Zionist Union, an amalgam of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, drops from the 24 seats it now holds to just 17. In January and February polls, Zionist Union won 18 and 19 seats, respectively.
Yesh Atid, meanwhile, which holds 11 Knesset seats, received 19 in the newest poll, up from the 18 seats in both the January and February polls. The party, established and led by former journalist Yair Lapid in 2012, exceeded expectations in the 2013 elections, winning 19 Knesset seats and securing a prominent place in the new government. But that success was not replicated in 2015, when after a showdown with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the party shrunk to 11.
The pro-settlement Jewish Home, which has 8 Knesset seats, would win 11 if elections were held today, while Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s freshman Kulanu party would drop from its current 10 seats to just 7.
The poll found Avigdor Liberman’s rightist Yisrael Beytenu party would also strengthen slightly, growing from the 6 seats it now holds to 8. Ultra-Orthodox votes shifted slightly but not significantly between Shas and United Torah Judaism, while the left-wing Meretz, currently with 5 seats, would rise to 6.
A poll published earlier this week by Haaretz found that a party led by Kahlon, former Likud member Gideon Sa’ar and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi would beat Likud. The poll was theoretical, however, given that none of the three has apparently seriously discussed banding together, and Kahlon is currently serving in Netanyahu’s Likud-led government.