(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan would be the preferred Likud candidate to replace the prime minister should he resign due to the investigations against him.
According to a poll conducted for The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv, 16% of Likud voters would like Erdan to take over compared to 13% who backed former MK and minister Gideon Sa’ar, and the 10% garnered by both Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Transportation Minister Israel Katz.
Among the general public, however, Sa’ar was more popular than all other current Likud ministers, with 18% saying they would like to see him take over, Erdan with 10% and Katz at 7%, with former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon receiving 10%.
Both Sa’ar and Ya’alon have quit the Knesset – Sa’ar before the formation of the current government – but they both may be considering comebacks.
When presented with replacement options from all political parties, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid was by far the most favored candidate among other party leaders, with 21% of the public saying they would like to see him as head of government.
In distant second place was Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett with 12%, followed by Sa’ar at 7%, Ya’alon at 6%, Zionist Union No. 2 MK Tzipi Livni at 4%, and Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman both at 3%.
The survey also sampled the public’s opinion on the investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with 57% saying they believed the investigations into his affairs were well-founded, compared to 28% who said they were not.
The poll also reflected the ongoing rise of Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Likud’s fall in popularity.
If an election were held now with the current political constellation of leaders, Yesh Atid would take 26 Knesset seats, the Likud 23, Bayit Yehudi 13, the Joint List 13, Zionist Union nine, United Torah Judaism eight, and Yisrael Beytenu, Shas, Meretz and Kulanu would each receive seven seats.
A coalition of the Likud, Bayit Yehudi, Yisrael Beytenu, United Torah Judaism, Shas and Kulanu would garner 65 seats.
Lapid could put together a workable coalition of 64, but only if it included the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties.
Shas chairman Arye Deri said recently that he would not recommend that Lapid be tasked with forming a coalition, while UTJ chairman Ya’acov Litzman is an even more ardent opponent of the former finance minister.
The poll also evaluated different political scenarios, finding that Yesh Atid would receive 30 seats if Ya’alon joined the party list in the No. 2 spot, and that it would fall to 24 seats if Ya’alon would lead a new party, which would garner eight seats.
If former chief of staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi led the Zionist Union political alliance it would rise to 15 seats from a projected 9 under Herzog, and if Bennett were to lead Likud it would shoot up to 29 seats.
In the latter scenario, Yesh Atid would be close behind at 27 and Bayit Yehudi would plunge to six seats.
The Internet poll was conducted by the Panels Politics research institute on a sample of 517 adults on January 18, with a margin of error of ±4.3%.