Poll finds Israeli voters undecided and confused

50.3% of respondents agreed that it is harder than in the past to decide what party to select, 44.2% did not agree and 5.5% said they did not know or declined to answer.

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March 6, 2019 04:20
2 minute read.
Ofakim

An Israeli soldier chooses a ballot from behind a voting booth at an army base near the southern city of Ofakim March 15. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Recent changes in the political map have made it harder for Israelis to decide who to vote for in the April 9 election, according to a poll taken by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Gutman Center for Research that was published on Tuesday.

The poll found that 50.3% of respondents agreed that it is harder than in the past to decide which party to select, 44.2% did not agree and 5.5% said they did not know or declined to answer.

Broken down by their political camp, 67% of self-defined centrists said it was harder to decide on a party this time, 52% of leftists said so and 48% of those who consider themselves right-wing said that it is harder now.

When asked what their main consideration is when deciding what party to vote for, 25.4% said its positions on socioeconomic issues, 18.1% said who heads the party, 16.6% said foreign affairs and defense issues, 9.9% said the quality of the party’s list of candidates, 8.5% said the party’s chances of being part of the next government, 6.5% said the party’s performance in the outgoing Knesset, 7.8% said they had other reasons and 7.1% refused to answer.

But when respondents were asked about Israelis in general, they predicted that the security situation would impact their votes more than the cost of living and housing, the investigations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, matters of religion and state and Jewish-Arab issues.

Asked what government they expected to be formed, 34.2% said a right-wing government led by Netanyahu, 20% said a Center-Right government led by Netanyahu, 19.2% said a Center-Right government led by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and 8.2% said a Center-Left Gantz-led government. The remaining respondents said other, declined to answer or admitted that they did not know.


The poll asked respondents which party they intended to support but did not calculate percentages into mandates. Blue and White led Likud, 20.6% to 17.9%.

The third-largest party would be United Torah Judaism. For the first time in any poll, Meretz would receive more support than Labor, 3.8% to 3.3%, which would mean Labor would barely cross the 3.25% electoral threshold and would win only four seats.

In such a scenario, Labor would be represented in the next Knesset only by party leader Avi Gabbay, retired general Tal Rousso, Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir. Former Labor leaders Shelly Yacimovich and Amir Peretz would be left out of the Knesset.

Ironically, Labor voters were the most satisfied with their list of candidates. More than twice as high a percentage of Labor voters were happy with the list as Blue and White voters, 41% to 19%.

The poll of 600 Israelis representing a statistical sample of the voting population was taken last week and had a 4.1% margin of error.

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