Poll finds Sa’ar top candidate to head centrist party

The poll found that a party led by Sa’ar and Lapid would win 26 seats compared to 25 for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.

June 30, 2016 16:20
1 minute read.
Former MK Gideon Sa'ar

Former MK Gideon Sa'ar. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar would be the public’s number one choice to head a new centrist party, according to a Panels Research poll taken this week for the Knesset Channel.

The poll asked 500 respondents representing a statistic sample of the adult Israeli population whether such a party should be led by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, or Sa’ar.

Twenty-three percent said Sa’ar, Lapid and Ya’alon each received 18%, 24% said none of them, and 17% did not know.

Among self-defined centrists, Lapid received 41%, Sa’ar, 32%, Ya’alon, 9%, none of the above, 5%, and 13% did not know.

Sa’ar is considered rightwing, though he has support from centrists as well. He sharply criticized this week’s deal with Turkey, and he wrote on Twitter Thursday that Israel should respond to the murder of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel by building for Jews in Hebron, as well as in her nearby home in Kiryat Arba.

The poll found that a party led by Sa’ar and Lapid would win 26 Knesset seats compared to 25 for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.

If Sa’ar, Lapid, and Ya’alon would run together, the party would win 30 seats compared to 24 for the Likud. In that poll, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party barely crosses the electoral threshold.

If the parties run as they are now, the Likud would win 26 seats and Yesh Atid 20. When only current party leaders are included as choices, nearly twice as many respondents say Netanyahu is the most fit candidate to be prime minister as Lapid.

Twenty-five percent said Netanyahu, 13% Lapid, 9% Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett, 6% Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, and 3% Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog.

Thirty-four percent said none of the above.

The poll had a +-4.3 percent margin of error.

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