(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Bayit Yehudi chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett is the politician who best represents religious Zionists, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Bennett came in first place, with 61 percent of religious Zionists saying he represents them well, followed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud, with the support of half the people polled, and Bayit Yehudi’s MK Shuli Muallem (38%) and Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (36.3%).
Politicians from Tekuma, the hardline party within Bayit Yehudi’s faction, came in fifth and sixth place, with MK Bezalel Smotrich receiving 30.8% and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel getting 29.5%.
The most politically leftwing lawmaker of the group, Zionist Union’s Revital Swid, did the worst, with 0.6% of religious Zionists saying she represents them. Yesh Atid’s Aliza Lavie fared best of the MKs in the poll who are liberal when it comes to religious issues, getting 13.3% support and coming in 11th place. MK Elazar Stern, also of Yesh Atid, came in next on the list, with 7.8%, followed by Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria with 7%.
The combined scores of all the religiously liberal MKs is lower than that of Ariel, head of the hardline faction.
First-term Likud MKs fared poorly in the poll, a possible result of low name recognition.
Deputy Housing Minister Jackie Levy received 4.5% support, MK Avraham Naguise 1.5%, and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Yaron Mazuz got 0.8%.
The poll, first published by website News1, was conducted by Miskar, which does research on the religious-Zionist population, among a representative sample of 400 people ages 16 and up from different streams of religious Zionism: 27% called themselves “Torani” (closer to haredi in outlook), 27% “classic religious Zionist,” 23% “liberal religious Zionists” and 13% undefined. The poll participants were asked whether to rank how well the 17 religious Zionist MKs, who come from Bayit Yehudi, Likud, Kulanu, Yesh Atid and Zionist Union, represent them. The poll’s margin of error is 4.5%.
Jeremy Saltan, a poll analyst at KnessetJeremy.com and adviser to Bennett, took issue with Miskar’s polling methodology, calling it “quite problematic,” saying the institute is “tiny, relatively new [and] Internet-based,” and pointing to mistakes that Miskar made ahead of the last Bayit Yehudi primary.
“My professional assessment is that they got the top and bottom spots correctly in this poll,” he stated.