Zionist Union implodes, Yesh Atid soars in latest polls

Center-left opposition mainstay collapses to 8 and 10 seats, while Yair Lapid’s centrist party doubles to 22; coalition parties also get a boost

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) on April 12, 2016 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) on April 12, 2016 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Two new surveys released Thursday by different pollsters show an implosion of the center-left Zionist Union list while the centrist Yesh Atid party soars to nearly double its current share of Knesset seats.

The polls also suggest the current coalition parties will likely strengthen their position in the next elections.

One poll, conducted by the Geocartographia institute for Army Radio, gives the Zionist Union list just eight seats, dropping a whopping two-thirds of its current 24. Yesh Atid, meanwhile, seems to pick up much of that loss, jumping from its current 11 to 22.

It also shows the current ruling Likud party dropping from its current 30 seats to 25, but holding on to its lead as the largest party.

The other poll, conducted by the Ma’agar Mohot polling firm for the Nissim Mishal radio show on Radio Lelo Hafsaka 103FM, tracks closely with the Army Radio survey.

Yesh Atid party chairman MK Yair Lapid at a Knesset faction meeting, June 27, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yesh Atid party chairman MK Yair Lapid at a Knesset faction meeting, June 27, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In it, Zionist Union drops from 24 to 10, Yesh Atid jumps from 11 to 21 and Likud dips slightly from 30 to 27.

Jewish Home doubles its strength in the Army Radio poll, from eight in the current Knesset to 16 in the next. The 103FM poll shows a slightly smaller but nevertheless steep rise to 13.

The Joint (Arab) List holds its position at 13 seats in both polls, while Meretz holds at five in Army Radio’s poll and rises to six in that of 103FM.

Yisrael Beytenu, whose leader Avigdor Liberman was recently appointed defense minister in May, rises slightly from six to seven in the former poll and to nine in the latter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset plenum on August 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset plenum on August 1, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Shas, currently at seven, gets seven and eight seats, respectively. United Torah Judaism, currently at six, gets 11 and 7.

Despite the enormous rise of Yesh Atid, surpassing even its 19-seat showing at the end of the last Knesset; and despite the announcement of its leader Yair Lapid that he will run against Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister in the next election; and despite both the Likud’s and Kulanu’s modest declines in the polls, the results of both actually favor the current rightist government.

The current coalition has 66 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. (Yisrael Beytenu won six seats in the March 2015 election, but saw MK Orly Levy-Abekasis declare a split from the party in May, dropping its coalition faction figure to five.)

The same constellation — Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas, UTJ, Yisrael Beytenu — rises in the Army Radio poll by six seats, to 72; in the 103FM poll, to 70.

The implosion of the center-left has been evident in every major political poll in recent months.

Asked to explain the list’s poor showing, Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli told Army Radio Thursday that it was due to ongoing leadership disputes between Labor chief MK Isaac Herzog and his challengers led by former party leader Shelly Yachimovich.

“This is the result of infighting,” she said. “The party is in a kind of crisis, and this is reflected in the polls. But that doesn’t reflect what will happen in the [next] elections, which aren’t taking place tomorrow.”

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