Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses Likud supporters..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s report about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged misuse of public funds at his official residence harmed his support in the general public but raised it among supporters of his Likud party, a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister publication Maariv Sof Hashavua shows.
Among the general public, 20 percent said the report would make them less likely to vote Likud, 10% said more likely, and 67% said it would have no impact, according to the poll results published Friday. But among those who voted Likud in the 2013 election, 30% said Shapira’s findings made it more likely they would cast ballots for the party on March 17, 14% said it was now less likely and 54% do not know.
The results were also very different when respondents were asked whether a criminal investigation should be opened. Among the general public, 47% said no, 39% yes, and 14% did not know. But among Likudniks, 80% said no, 13% yes and 7% do not know.
Meanwhile, 45% of the public believes the charges of alleged corruption by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, raised by Meni Naftali, the disgruntled former chief overseer of their official Jerusalem residence, while 36% do not believe him, and 19% do not know. Sixty-five percent of Likud voters said they do not believe Naftali, 22% said they do, and 13% do not know.
The Likud fell in the polls for the second week in a row.
Two weeks ago, the party’s lead over the Zionist Union was four Knesset seats, last week it was one, and this week the Zionist Union took a two-seat lead, 24 to 22.
Bayit Yehudi rose from 11 seats last week to 13, while the poll predicted that Yesh Atid and the Joint Arab List each would win 12 mandates, Koolanu eight, Shas and United Torah Judaism seven each, Meretz six, Yisrael Beytenu five and Yahad four.
The percentage of those polled saying they want Netanyahu to remain prime minister fell from 42% to 40%, the lowest it has been since January 22. But the percentage saying they wanted Netanyahu to lose his job did not rise; it fell from 49% to 45%, while those saying they do not know rose from 9% to 15%, the highest it has been since the campaign began.
The survey found that the percentage of undecided voters is 18%.
The poll of 550 respondents representing a statistical sample of the Israeli population, including 135 Likud voters, was taken on Wednesday, the day after Shapira’s report was released. Its margin of error is ±4.5%.