Sixty-two percent of Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hiding his true reasons for wanting an early election, 11% believe that it is as he says, because of public broadcasting, and 27% do not know, according to a poll taken this week for Maariv Hashavua and The Jerusalem Post.
The Panels Research poll asked Israelis whether they agree with Netanyahu that factions violating the coalition agreement and opposing closing the Israel Broadcasting Corporation is a good reason to seek an election. Twenty-one percent said yes, 61% said no and 18% said they did not know.
The public is overwhelmingly dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s functioning, according to the poll, with 35% happy with his performance as prime minister, 59% unhappy and 6% saying they did not know.
But when given choices of who is most fit to be prime minister, Netanyahu was selected more than other. He was picked by 26% of respondents, followed by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid (15%), Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog, (6%) Bayit Yehudi chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (5%), Kulanu head and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (4%) and Yisrael Beytenu leader and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (3%). Twenty-nine percent answered none of the above and 12% did not know.
The poll also asked about the fitness for premiership of four possible candidates currently on the sidelines. Former education minister Gideon Sa’ar fared better than three former IDF chiefs of staff.
Thirty-nine percent said Sa’ar is fit and 43% unfit, compared to Benny Gantz, who was pronounced fit by 37% and unfit by 44% and Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya’alon, who were seen as fit by 30% and unfit by 53%.
Sa’ar’s wife, veteran journalist Geula Even, also fared well in the poll, with 51% calling her fit to anchor the Israel Broadcasting Corporation’s nightly news, 23% calling her unfit and 26% saying they did not know.
Should an election be held now, Yesh Atid would win the most Knesset seats at 28, followed by the Likud with 25, Bayit Yehudi and the Joint List with 13 each, the Zionist Union with 10, Kulanu and United Torah Judaism with seven each, Shas and Yisrael Beytenu with six each and Meretz with five.
Yesh Atid’s seats come from its current 11 plus eight from the Zionist Union, three from Kulanu and two from the Likud, as well as other voters.
But Yesh Atid voters are less loyal. While among supporters of other parties 86% are sure about their vote and 45% are very sure, 76% of Yesh Atid voters said they are sure and 29% called themselves very sure of their vote.
The poll of 572 respondents has a margin of error of 4.3%.