Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is enjoying a bump in the polls following a week in which he was warmly embraced by visiting US President Donald Trump.
The Channel 2 survey published Friday said that if elections were held today, Netanyahu’s Likud party would win 30 seats in the 120 seat parliament, up 2 since the last poll taken in April and equal to what he achieved in the actual 2015 elections.
The poll showed Netanyahu’s main rival, the centrist Yesh Atid party, led by Yair Lapid, drop down to 22 seats from the previous survey, when it had 24.
The survey, in which a representative sample of 503 Israelis were questioned, gives the Joint (Arab) List 13 seats, Isaac Herzog’s opposition Zionist Union 12, and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home 9 seats.
Both the Joint List and the Zionist Union held steady, while the right-wing Jewish Home dropped one since the last poll. Commentators suggested that Bennett’s strategy of trying to outflank Netanyahu from the right was not working.
Next come Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu at 7, Shas at 7, United Torah Judaism at 7, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu at 7 and the left-wing Meretz at 6. Ex-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon’s anticipated new party failed to enter the Knesset in the survey.
Were such a result to emerge from elections, Netanyahu’s Likud would likely have no difficulty in forming a governing coalition and retaining power. Several previous recent polls had shown Likud and Yesh Atid neck and neck.
However, the Channel 2 report noted that Netanyahu may be considering trying to move his coalition closer to the center in light of the peace process that Trump is trying to launch.
The report said that Netanyahu was set to meet with Herzog regarding the possibility of bringing the Zionist Union into the coalition, but that the move has been delayed by the impending leadership primaries in the opposition party. Herzog is facing several challengers for his leadership post in the July 4 vote.
(Were Zionist Union led by former prime minister Ehud Barak, it would fare only slightly better in the polls, winning 15 seats, the survey found. Barak is not among the challengers to Herzog in the July vote.)
The survey also asked the public if they supported a two-state peace deal with the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 lines, adjusted to include the major settlement blocs.
According to the poll, 47% were in favor, 39% against and 14% had no opinion. The survey did not relate to the fate of Jerusalem, the TV report noted.
Netanyahu also came out on top when people were asked who is most suited to being prime minister. The PM got 35% and Lapid received 14%. Other possible candidates were all in the single digits, with Herzog getting just 4%.
The poll by Midgam had a ±4.4 margin of error.