Israel election poll: Zionist Spirit crosses electoral threshold, no change to blocs

Shaked, who spoke against a narrow right-wing government, could hand Benjamin Netanyahu the keys to the Prime Minister's Office, a new N12 poll found.

 Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was given flowers after annoucing a joint run with Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel as the Zionist Spirit party on July 27, 2022 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was given flowers after annoucing a joint run with Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel as the Zionist Spirit party on July 27, 2022
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

The newly-formed Zionist Spirit faction led by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked would cross the electoral threshold with four Knesset seats if the election was held today, N12 found in a new election poll published Thursday evening.

The four mandates won by the Zionist Spirit would not change the overall balance between the coalition's bloc and the Netanyahu bloc, with a government forming on either side looking unlikely, according to the poll's results.

While the new party formed by Shaked and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel could give opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu the coveted 61 Knesset majority, Shaked's comments on Wednesday against a narrow, Netanyahu-led government shut the door on that option.

Netanyahu's Likud party remains at the top of the list with 33 seats won in the poll. As expected, Prime Minister Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Blue and White: The New Hope are the second and third-biggest factions, with 23 and 11 seats, respectively.

According to another new poll, by Menachem Lazar of Panels Politics on behalf of Maariv, The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication, Zionist Spirit would net 3.3% of the vote and receive four seats, barely passing the threshold margin of 3.25%. The Netanyahu bloc would receive 59 seats, the anti-Netanyahu bloc, including Ra’am (United Arab List), would receive 51, and the Joint List six, the poll found.

That would make Netanyahu dependent on Zionist Spirit to form a government.Shaked and Hendel announced a merger between their two previous parties, Yamina and Derech Eretz, respectively, at a news conference on Wednesday evening. Hendel and MK Zvi Hauser were part of Justice Minister Gideon Saar’s New Hope Party, but were left out when it merged with Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party.

The Likud would receive 35 seats, Yesh Atid 23, Blue and White-New Hope (BWNH) 11, Religious Zionist Party 10, Shas eight, United Torah Judaism six, Joint List six, and Yisrael Beytenu, Ra’am, Meretz and Labor would all receive four seats.

Zionist Spirit’s four seats came at the expense of Yesh Atid, BWNH, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor, which all received one more seat in Maariv’s poll published a week ago.This week’s poll was conducted between July 27 and 28 among 701 Israelis over age 18, of whom 616 were Jewish and 85 Arab. The margin of error was 4.2%, and the percentage of undecided voters was 13.7%.

Ben-Gvir and Smotrich: The sum or the parts?

 Head of the National Union party MK Betzalel Smotrich and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir attend Otzma Yehudit party's election campaign event in Bat Yam on April 06, 2019.  (credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90) Head of the National Union party MK Betzalel Smotrich and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir attend Otzma Yehudit party's election campaign event in Bat Yam on April 06, 2019. (credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)

The Religious Zionists party would win nine seats if the elections were held today and if its head MK Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit chief MK Itamar Ben-Gvir can agree to a merger that has been cast into doubt in recent days due to disagreements between the two right-wing leaders.

The parties should split, according to N12's poll, with the parts seemingly greater than their sum. 

In the case of separate runs, Ben-Gvir would win an unprecedented seven Knesset seats with his Otzma Yehudit party, compared to only four seats won by Smotrich. 

Elsewhere on the Right, ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism stand still at eight and seven seats won, respectively. Yisrael Beytenu, the faction flying the anti-haredi flag led by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, would win five seats if the elections were held today, the poll also found.

Labor flounders, Meretz hangs in the balance

On the Left, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli's Labor Party continues to underperform in the polls with only five seats won. Meretz, on the other hand, is looking ahead to voting either former head Zehava Galon or Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan as the new faction leader in the upcoming primaries.

According to the poll, Galon has a slight advantage over Golan, with the former MK managing to retain Meretz's political power with six Knesset seats, one more compared to Golan.

Lastly, the Arab parties also stand still, with the poll predicting both the Joint List and Ra'am retaining their six and four respective Knesset seats. In terms of the blocs, both Netanyahu's bloc and the current coalition stand at 57 seats each.