Polls predict major blow to Likud, boost to Gantz after overhaul chaos

Surveys from two TV stations show Netanyahu’s coalition would fail to form government were elections held today, while opposition parties could see a return to power

Election posters hung by the Blue and White party show its candidate Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a Hebrew slogan reading 'Netanyahu cares only for himself,' ahead of the 2020 elections. (Miriam Alster/ FLASH90/ File)
Election posters hung by the Blue and White party show its candidate Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a Hebrew slogan reading 'Netanyahu cares only for himself,' ahead of the 2020 elections. (Miriam Alster/ FLASH90/ File)

Two polls released Monday indicated the current coalition would not succeed in building a government if elections were held today, amid the chaos of its judicial overhaul plans, but an array of parties in the opposition could form a replacement coalition.

The polls published by Channel 12 news and Kan news both showed a major blow dealt to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, dropping to just 25 seats from the 32 it holds in the current Knesset.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would shrink slightly to 22 seats according to both polls, down from the 24 it currently controls. But the big winner appears to be National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, whose party would receive 23 seats according to Channel 12 and 21 seats according to Kan, soaring from the 12 it holds now.

The rest of the party distribution would remain similar to that in the current Knesset. The combined Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit slate would receive 12 seats according to Channel 12 and 11 seats according to Kan, down from the 14 it controls now.

The Kan poll predicted that left-wing Labor and Meretz — which failed to cross the electoral threshold in last year’s election — would receive 4 seats each, while Channel 12’s survey suggested that Labor would fall below the threshold and Meretz would receive 5 seats.

Together the parties in the current coalition — Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit — would only receive 53 or 54 seats, according to the polls, leaving it far from able to form a 61-seat majority coalition.

But opposition parties Yesh Atid, National Unity, Labor, Meretz, Yisrael Beytenu and Ra’am — all members of the former government — would potentially be able to form a 61- or 62-seat coalition.

Respondents in the Kan poll who were asked to choose between Netanyahu and Lapid to lead the country, backed the prime minister with only 31%, and the opposition leader with 32%. In a matchup between Gantz and Netanyahu, the former defense minister received 37% of support, compared to 30% for the Likud leader.

Channel 12’s survey showed that 63% of respondents — including 60% of Likud voters — support a halt to the current judicial overhaul legislation, compared to 24% who oppose any such pause. Kan’s poll showed 62% of the public supporting a pause of the legislation, and 22% saying that it should continue.

The Channel 12 poll saw 68% of respondents give Netanyahu a poor grade for his current performance, with just 25% rating him positively.

In addition, 63% of respondents — and 58% of Likud voters — said they opposed Netanyahu’s decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over his call for a pause in legislation.

The polls came during days of national unrest surrounding the overhaul plans, with mass protests and repeated blockages, as well as the highly controversial dismissal of the defense minister. Monday saw Netanyahu announce that the shakeup would be delayed to allow talks between the coalition and opposition.

The Channel 12 survey was conducted by Manu Geva on Monday via internet and phone with 502 respondents and a margin of error of 4.4%. The Kan poll was carried out by Kantar on Monday via internet and phone with 600 respondents and a 4.1% margin of error.

Monday’s polls depicted a further blow to Likud, following a Channel 12 poll earlier this month which had showed it dropping from 32 to 29 seats, and its coalition falling from 64 to 58 seats amid weeks of divisive anti-government protests.

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