ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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TV poll says Netanyahu’s bloc would lose majority if fresh elections held

Network claims results, which show coalition down to 58 seats from 64 and Meretz back in Knesset, indicate displeasure with hard-right government’s plans; no election is in offing

Benjamin Netanyahu holds his first cabinet meeting since returning as prime minister, hours after his coalition was sworn in, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on December 29, 2022. (Ohad Zwigenberg/ POOL)
Benjamin Netanyahu holds his first cabinet meeting since returning as prime minister, hours after his coalition was sworn in, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on December 29, 2022. (Ohad Zwigenberg/ POOL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nascent coalition has lost its majority public support, according to a television poll released three days after his new government was sworn in.

If fresh elections were held today, Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc would pick up 58 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, dropping from its current tally of 64 MKs, said the Channel 13 survey, broadcast Sunday. Opposition parties would together receive 58 seats; of these, the left-wing Meretz party, which failed to cross the electoral threshold in the November 1 election, would get four seats, the poll found.

The network said the poll was conducted last week, but did not specify when. The government took office last Thursday.

Israeli television polls are notoriously unreliable and respondents participated in this survey knowing that another election is not in the offing.

Channel 13 argued that the results highlighted growing public discomfort with the makeup of the new government following coalition negotiations, which saw Netanyahu’s far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies score significant achievements.

According to the Channel 13 survey, Netanyahu’s Likud would receive 31 seats, one fewer than it now has. Opposition chairman Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would climb to 26 seats, two more than it presently has.

The Religious Zionism alliance would fall from 14 to 12 seats. The poll said the ultra-Orthodox Shas, which now has 11 seats, would drop to eight, while the fellow Haredi United Torah Judaism would remain steady at seven seats.

Former defense minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity party would retain its 12 seats and ex-treasurer Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu would again receive six seats, the poll indicated. The Islamist Ra’am party would jump from five seats to six and the center-left Labor party would remain steady at four.

Meretz, whose previous chair Zehava Galon recently resigned, was forecast to squeak into the Knesset with four seats. Many analysts have speculated that Meretz will not run again as an independent party in the next election, after its failure in the previous race and shrinking political differences with Labor.

Meanwhile, the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al alliance would drop from five to four seats, the survey predicted, holding the balance of power between the new coalition and the outgoing coalition blocs.

Per the poll results, Netanyahu would lack enough support in the Knesset to form a government, as would Lapid, due to the various opposition parties’ refusal to sit in a government with Hadash-Ta’al.

The Channel 13 survey had 700 respondents, 600 of them Jews and the rest non-Jews. The margin of error was 3.7 percent.

The network’s final poll before the November 1 election had slightly better results for Netanyahu than the ones published Sunday, showing his bloc at 60 seats — with Likud receiving 30 seats, Yesh Atid winning 27 seats, Religious Zionism winning 15 seats, National Unity winning 10 seats, Shas winning eight seats, UTJ winning seven seats, Labor earning six seats, Yisrael Beytenu winning five seats, Meretz winning four seats, Hadash-Ta’al winning four seats and Ra’am winning four seats.

The latest survey followed one conducted a week earlier by Channel 13, before the Netanyahu-led coalition took office, which said that 55% of respondents were not satisfied with the new government, while 39% said it was very bad. Just 21% responded that they viewed the new government positively and only 15% said it was very good. The remaining 9% said they were still unsure.

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