Coalition would plunge to just 46 seats in 120-seat Knesset

Poll shows dramatic drop in support for Likud, surge in backing for National Unity

Outlier survey predicts Netanyahu’s party would get just 20 seats if an election were held today, dropping the faction to a 17-year low and to become the third-largest in Knesset

File: An election campaign billboard for the Blue and White party depicting Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu hangs on a street in Tel Aviv, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/ Oded Balilty)
File: An election campaign billboard for the Blue and White party depicting Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu hangs on a street in Tel Aviv, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/ Oded Balilty)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would drop to a low it has not been seen in 17 years, and his coalition would plunge to just 46 seats in the 120-member Knesset, if an election were held today, according to an opinion poll published Sunday.

The Channel 13 poll predicted that Likud would fall to 20 seats were elections held now, compared to the 32 it currently holds. The party has not performed that poorly since the 2006 election, when it fell to an all-time low of 12 seats, during the surge of the short-lived centrist Kadima party.

According to the poll, Benny Gantz’s National Union party would become the largest in the Knesset, receiving a whopping 29 seats, more than double the 12 it holds now.

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would receive 21 seats, dropping from the 24 it currently controls, which would push Likud into becoming just the third-largest party in the Knesset.

The combined Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit slate would drop from 14 to 11 seats, the poll predicts, and the left-wing Meretz would remain below the electoral threshold and out of the Knesset, while the Palestinian nationalist Balad — which did not make it into the current Knesset — would receive 4 seats.

The Haredi parties would also drop, with a combined 15 seats compared to their current 18, while the Islamist Ra’am would keep 5, the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al would rise one seat to 6, Yisrael Beytenu would drop one seat to 5, and Labor would maintain its 4 seats.

Such an outcome would drop the parties in the current coalition to just 46 seats compared to their current 64, and give those in the last government a 64-seat coalition.

Asked what they think of Netanyahu’s performance in office, 71 percent of respondents said he was not doing a good job, compared to just 20% who viewed him favorably.

Just 25% of those polled said they wanted to see Netanyahu’s current government remain in office, while 33% said they would like to go to another election and another 33% said they believed Netanyahu and Gantz should form a unity government.

While a number of polls in recent weeks have shown a resurgence for Gantz alongside a weakening of Netanyahu, Sunday’s findings from Channel 13 appeared to be an outlier even among those surveys.

The poll was carried out by Prof. Camil Fuchs and sampled 699 respondents — 599 Jews and 100 non-Jews with a margin of error of 3.7%, according to Channel 13.

The TV network did not say what day the respondents were polled, leading some to speculate that religious respondents may have been less accessible due to Passover preparations or activities.

Two polls released 10 days ago both predicted that Likud would receive 25 seats, and National Unity would get 23 or 21 seats if an election were held now. Those polls were carried out hours before Netanyahu announced a pause on the highly controversial judicial overhaul legislation.

In general, opinion polls in Israel are considered unreliable, but they do often affect public opinion and drive decision-making among parties ahead of elections.

No elections are set for anytime soon, but the polls could become relevant if the current hard-right coalition — where significant cracks open up from time to time — falls.

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