A quarter of Israelis still unsure who to vote for, poll finds

More than twice as many coalition voters in 2021 say they will change blocs than opposition backers.

 A voting box in the last Israeli election in 2015 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A voting box in the last Israeli election in 2015
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Nearly a quarter of the nation’s citizens have not yet decided who they will vote for in the upcoming election, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s “Israeli Voice Index” for August.

What did the study find?

The study, written by Prof. Tamar Hermann and Dr. Or Anabi, found that 23% have not yet decided which party they will choose – up from 20% who said the same the previous month.

The study also found that almost half (49%) of all voters said they would vote for the same party as in the previous election, 9.5% said they would vote for a different party but still within the same coalition/opposition bloc, and just 6% said they will “cross sides” and select a party that is not in the same bloc as the one they voted for in the March 2021 election.

There is a clear difference, however, in this regard between coalition and opposition voters.

While 78% of opposition voters said they will vote for the same party as last time, just 43.5% of coalition voters said they would; 18% of coalition voters said they will vote for a different party in the same bloc, as opposed to just 3% of opposition voters.

In addition, 10% of coalition voters said they will now vote for the opposition bloc, versus just 4% of opposition voters who said they will choose a party in the coalition bloc. Moreover, more than twice as many coalition voters (25%) were not decided yet whom they will vote for, versus just 12% of opposition voters who were.

 Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel launch the Zionist Spirit party (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel launch the Zionist Spirit party (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Most of the voters who said they would switch blocs voted in the previous election for the Yamina Party led by Naftali Bennett, the study found. Since then, nearly all of its MKs from the previous election have left the party, Bennett handed over the party leadership to Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, and it changed its name to “Zionist Spirit.”

Among Israeli-Arab voters, 61% of those who voted for the Joint List in the previous election said they would repeat their vote, versus just 45% of those who chose Ra’am. Just 1% of the Joint List’s voters said they would now vote for Ra’am, while 15% of Ra’am voters said that they will switch to the Joint List.

Asked what influenced their decision on what party to vote for, 31% answered that it was the party’s platform on the economy, 17.5% said it was the party leader, 15% said religion and state, 12% said foreign policy and security, and 11% said they were influenced by their decision to vote for a specific party in the past.

Here, too, the priorities changed based on demographic group and political camp. National religious voters (27%) and haredim (42%), for example, put religion and state as the number one issue.

In addition, Likud voters were the only ones to be most influenced by the identity of the party leader, with 30.5% rating this as the largest influence on their decision for whom to vote.

Finally, approximately two-thirds of Israelis disagreed with the statement, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it doesn’t change the situation.”

However, a sharp difference in this regard exists between Jewish and Arab citizens. While 71% of Jewish Israelis believe that their vote mattered, just 46% of Arab Israelis said the same.