Poll shows Likud overtake Blue and White; Labor surge

Benny Gantz led-alliance down to 28 seats, while Labor leaps to 14 seats in Channel 13 survey

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right. (Flash90)
Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right. (Flash90)

A television poll aired Tuesday projected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud as the largest party in Knesset elections on April 9, with some support for Benny Gantz’s Blue and White flowing to a resurgent Labor Party.

Blue and White has consistently polled ahead of Likud since it was formed in February through a merger of Gantz’s Israel Resilience and Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party, but has recently seen its lead over Likud slip in the polls, amid a series of negative campaigns.

According to Channel 13 news, Likud would receive 29 seats, just beating out Blue and White with 28.

Meanwhile, support for Labor would jump to 14 seats, well above recent polls which showed it hovering close to 10 seats.

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay (C) speaks at a press conference alongside MKs Amir Peretz (R) and Shelly Yachimovich in Tel Aviv on March 19, 2019. (Flash90)

Labor has long been a powerhouse in Israeli politics, but had dropped to single digits in surveys after leader Avi Gabbay dissolved the Zionist Union alliance with dovish former foreign minister Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party.

Following Labor in the survey was the Union of Right-Wing Parties — an alliance of the pro-settlement Jewish Home, National Union and extremist Otzma Yehudit — with seven seats, after which the right-wing Zehut, Hadash-Ta’al and United Torah Judaism received six seats apiece.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas party, the New Right, the left-wing Meretz and the Ra’am-Balad faction of Arab parties all received five seats, while rounding out the poll was Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s center-right Kulanu with four seats.

Among the notable parties that failed to clear the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent of the vote were former defense minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu and Gesher, which is led by independent MK Orly Levy-Abekasis.

Based on the results of the poll, right-wing and religious parties would have 62 seats together, versus 58 for center-left and Arab parties, giving Netanyahu’s Likud an easier path to forming a majority government in the 120-seat Knesset.

The poll showed 46 percent of respondents preferring Netanyahu as prime minister over 37% for Gantz.

The survey was conducted by Camil Fuchs, one of Israel’s leading pollsters, and included 856 respondents. It had a 3.4 percent margin of error.

The Channel 13 survey was one of the few polls since Blue and White came together to give Likud the largest number of seats.

On Sunday, Channel 12 news aired a poll in which even though Blue and White outscored Likud by four seats, a majority of respondents said they expect Netanyahu to again be prime minister after the elections.

That result again reflected the easier route Netanyahu is expected to have in cobbling together a ruling coalition in light of the overall strength of right-wing parties.

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