Polls taken this week in honor of the anniversary of last January’s election predicted dramatically different numbers about what the next Knesset would look like if a vote were held now.
A poll by the Geocartography Institute predicted that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu run separately in the next election, they will win 39 and 16 Knesset seats, respectively, for a total of 55 in the 120-member chamber.
Likud Beytenu running together would win 40, up from the current 31.
The poll predicted 72 seats for the Center-Right bloc, up from the current 61, if the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu run together and a record 76 if they run separately.
In contrast, another poll taken by Panels Politics for the Knesset Channel found that the Center- Right and Center-Left blocs were tied at 60 seats.
When asked whom respondents support in next summer’s Knesset vote for president, 28 percent said former Knesset speaker and current MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), 25% said Nobel laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman, and 7% said Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky. Six percent each chose Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) and Labor MK Binyamin Ben- Eliezer, and former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik got 2%.
The Panels poll predicted 34 seats for Likud Beytenu, 17 for Labor, 14 for Yesh Atid, 12 for Bayit Yehudi, 10 for Meretz, eight for Shas, six each for United Torah Judaism and Hatnua, 11 for the Arab parties and two for Kadima.
The Geocartography Institute poll found that if the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu run separately, UTJ would fall to four seats from its current seven. In all recent elections, support for the party has risen along with the large birthrate among UTJ voters, so that would be a dramatic change. No poll published in recent memory has predicted such a sharp fall for UTJ.
Former Shas MK Haim Amsalem’s Am Shalem party was included in the Geocartography Institute poll, even though it is not expected to run on its own in the next general election.
The poll found that it would win three seats if the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu ran together, but none if they ran separately.
The party in the process of being formed by former communications minister (and former Likud MK) Moshe Kahlon, which won 10 seats in a recent Channel 2 poll, was not included in either of the two polls taken this week.
The Geocartography Institute poll of 500 Israelis was taken on Tuesday. The pollster said the margin of error was 4.2 percentage points.