Israel is headed to its fourth election in the span of two years this March and according to two polls released by N12 and Channel 13 on Friday, neither the pro-Netanyahu bloc nor the anti-Netanyahu bloc is expected to win 61 seats in the Knesset and form a government, introducing the risk of another election redo during a global pandemic and with no national budget.
The Channel 13 poll predicted that the Likud would win 30 seats, while the N12 poll predicted that Likud would gain 29 seats.
Both polls found that Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party would be the second largest party, winning 17 seats. They also predicted Naftali Bennett's Yamina receiving 11 seats, as well as Benny Gantz's Blue and White and Meretz receiving 4 seats each.
Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope Party received 13 seats in the Channel 13 poll, and 14 seats in the N12 poll, making it the third-largest in the Knesset.
The Channel 13 poll was less favorable to the ultra-Orthodox parties, finding that Shas would receive seven seats and UTJ six, one fewer each than in the N12 poll.
The Channel 13 poll was more sympathetic to Merav Michaeli's Labor Party, predicting that it would receive seven seats, one more than in the N12 poll.
The merger between the Religious Zionist Party headed Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir was predicted to receive five seats in the Channel 13 poll, as opposed to four seats in the N12 poll.
One of the major differences between the polls had to do with the newly split Joint List, now sans Ra'am, which was expected to win seven seats in the Channel 13 poll but only nine in the N12 poll. However, this was partially compensated for by Channel 13, which predicted Ra'am narrowly clearing the electoral threshold, as opposed to N12 where it does not.
Another significant difference was seen in the amount of seats received by Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu Party, which received five seats by Channel 13 and seven by N12.
If true, the Channel 13 poll gives only 48 seats to the pro-Netanyahu bloc of Likud, UTJ, Shas and the Religious Zionist Party and 57 seats for the anti-Netanyahu bloc of Blue and White, Yesh Atid, New Hope, Yisrael Beytenu, Labor, Arab Joint List and Meretz, with the undecided Yamina and Ra'am parties holding 15 combined seats.
N12 claimed that according to their data, the anti-Netanyahu bloc gains 61 seats, Yamina 11 seats, and the pro-Netanyahu bloc 48 seats. Meaning that if Yamina joins him and Netanyahu is able to gain just two more MKs, he could form a government once more.
Ra’am might prove to be an important factor after the elections if they clear the threshold. If neither bloc is able to form a government, the country might be faced with another round of elections.
The New Economic Party by former Finance Ministry accountant-general Yaron Zelekha was not expected to pass the electoral threshold in either of Friday's polls.
Both polls found that, among those asked, no one is seen as better suited for the role of prime minister than Benjamin Netanyahu, with Channel 13 finding 36% favoring him and N12 reporting 34%.
Besides whether Ra’am passes the threshold, the other most significant difference between the two polls was regarding who is preferred to be prime minister instead of Netanyahu.
While News 13 respondents chose Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with 15%, N12 claimed it was New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar with 31%.