Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, flanked by Likud MKs Yuval Steinitz and Ze’ev Elkin, speaks at the Likud faction meeting December 8.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud will only win the third-most seats if former finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and former welfare minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party run together in the March 17 election, according to a Panels Research poll taken Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister newspaper Maariv Sof Hashavua.
Labor under opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Hatnua head Tzipi Livni would win 23 Knesset seats, the Lapid-Kahlon list would win 22, and the Likud 20, the poll found. The Yesh Atid-Kulanu combination would primarily attract support from people who voted in the last election for Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi and Likud Beytenu.
Lapid and Kahlon have both denied they intend to run together. But Lapid has said he would explore multiple possibilities about running in conjunction with other parties.
If they do not run together, Labor would win 23 seats, the Likud 21, Bayit Yehudi 16, Yesh Atid and Kulanu 10 each, Yisrael Beytenu eight, United Torah Judaism and Meretz seven each, two Arab parties five each, and Shas and former Shas chairman Eli Yishai’s Ha’am Itanu party four each.
The poll of 507 respondents representing a statistical sample of the adult population found that 27 percent of respondents remain undecided.
Among those who call themselves centrist, the figure is even higher: 39%. The survey’s margin of error is 4.3 percentage points.
Netanyahu received good news in the poll. After the percentage saying they did not want him to remain prime minister after the election rose from 60% two weeks ago to 66% last week, it fell to 58% this week.
When asked whether the deterioration in relations between Israel and the US would affect their vote, 28% said it would and 64% said it would not. Asked who is to blame for the deterioration, 39% said US President Barack Obama, 29% said Netanyahu, and 25% said both.
The poll found that following the split in Shas, both factions might fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold. When asked whom they intended to support, 49% of respondents who voted for Shas last time said Yishai and 46% said current Shas leader Arye Deri.
It revealed that Livni’s performance on the satirical show Matzav Ha’uma (State of the Nation) on Saturday night caused the Labor list substantial harm. Forty-two percent said her below-the-belt humor would make it less likely they would vote Labor, while only 6% said it made it more likely.
“It’s better to have two potential prime ministers rather than an impotent prime minister,” she said on the show. “As in any solid relationship between a man and a woman, me and “Buji” [Herzog] have decided to take out the trash together,” she said, alluding to Netanyahu.