Exclusive ‘Post’ poll: Support for Netanyahu hits peak

Likud takes four-seat lead over Zionist Union.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot in the 2013 election[File] (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot in the 2013 election[File]
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud jumped to a four-seat advantage over opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union in a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister publication Maariv Sof Hashavua.
In last week’s survey, the Likud took the lead over the Zionist Union for the first time since Labor and Hatnua formed the joint list, 25 Knesset seats to 24. This week’s poll found that if the election were held now, the Likud would win 26 seats and the Zionist Union 22.
The Likud continued to take support away from Bayit Yehudi, which fell from 14 seats to 13.
The Joint Arab List would win 12 seats, Yesh Atid 11, United Torah Judaism eight, Koolanu seven, Shas and Meretz six each, Yisrael Beytenu five and Yahad four.
For the first time since Netanyahu initiated the election on December 2, the proportion of respondents saying they want him to remain prime minister was higher than those saying they want him replaced, 46-45 percent. Last week, 8% more wanted him to leave than to remain, 52% to 44%. The 46% who want him to stay is the highest since the race began.
A recent spate of media stories alleging improper use of public funds by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, did not harm him politically, even though 12% more respondents said they thought it would harm the prime minister rather than help him. Among Likud voters, 14% more said it would help Netanyahu than those who said it would harm him.
Respondents were equally divided at 46% over whether Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein should investigate whether laws were broken in the scandal over funds received for redeeming bottles. Asked to rate party leaders on a scale of one to 10 from least to most corrupt, Shas chairman Arye Deri was seen as most corrupt at 8.3, followed by Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman at 8, Netanyahu at 6.1, Zionist Union heads Tzipi Livni and Herzog at 5.7 and 5.3, respectively, and United Torah Judaism’s Ya’acov Litzman and Yahad’s Eli Yishai, both at 5.1.
The only party leaders who received scores under 5 were Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid at 4.9, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett at 4.4, Meretz head Zehava Gal-On at 3.9, and the party leader seen as least corrupt, Koolanu’s Moshe Kahlon, at 3.5. The poll found that Likud supporters are much more sure of their vote than supporters of other parties. While three-quarters of Likud voters said they were sure of their vote, only 50% of Zionist Union voters said they were sure, 45% of Yisrael Beytenu voters and 59% of those who intend to vote Bayit Yehudi. The poll of 538 respondents, a representative sample of the adult Israeli population, was conducted on Wednesday, and has a margin of error of ±4.5 percentage points.
Netanyahu took to Twitter on Thursday night to highlight the importance of voting Likud instead of Bayit Yehudi, writing that the latter “will be a partner in our government, but if it goes down a few seats, nothing will change.
“If Likud goes down a few seats, the Left may be tasked with forming the government,” he continued.
Bennett responded with a phrase that Netanyahu once used in the Knesset: “The first part is wrong, and the second part won’t happen.”
In Bennett’s tweet, it went: “The first part is wrong (last time you tried to exclude us from the government) and the second part won’t happen (only a big Bayit Yehudi will prevent another government from being formed with the Left).”
Then, Kahlon chimed in: “You’ve been fighting for a year and eight months. This doesn’t make the people of Israel laugh. Instead of trying to defeat each other, try defeating the cost of living.”
After that, Livni said, “Bibi is right. It’s us or him.” Later she added: “From now on we can call them Bibi-Bennett. How lucky we are that such a government will not be formed.”