‘Post’ poll: Blue and White in free fall; only 27% back a July annexation

Gantz drops to 10 seats; Likud pulls in 41; Ex-IDF chief Eisenkot joining Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid has no effect.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party continued its free fall in a new Jerusalem Post poll on Tuesday, which also showed that only 27% of Israelis support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank in July.
Taken by Smith Research, the poll found that if elections would be held now, Blue and White would win only 10 seats, a major drop since the party – with currently 15 seats in the Knesset – split after the March elections.
The poll predicted 41 seats for Netanyahu’s Likud, 16 for Ayman Odeh’s Joint List, 15 for opposition leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid-Telem, nine for Shas, eight each for Yisrael Beytenu and Yamina, seven for United Torah Judaism and six for Meretz.
Fourteen percent of voters called themselves undecided. Labor, Otzma Yehudit and Gesher failed to cross the threshold, as did  Derech Eretz - run by Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel and MK Zvi Hauser - which gained strength and tripled since a poll in April. 
According to the poll, Derech Eretz would gain approximately two and a half seats in the Knesset; Labor would receive about 3 seats and Gesher would get less than one. 
The poll asked how people would vote if former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot joined Yesh Atid as Lapid’s No. 2, Hendel joined Naftali Bennett’s Yamina and a new small business party was formed by the leaders of the Ani Shulman organization.
Eizenkot and Hendel would have no impact on their new parties, which would both instead lose support to the new socioeconomically focused party that would narrowly cross the threshold and win four mandates.
In such a scenario, Likud would win 40 seats, Joint List 16, Yesh Atid with Eizenkot 14, Blue and White 10, Shas nine, Meretz six, and United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beytenu and Yamina (now with Hendel) would each win seven.
Respondents were asked if they believed Israel should move ahead with annexation of the West Bank despite not having Arab support, as demonstrated by an op-ed United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba published in an Israel newspaper on Friday and in which he warned that the move would harm Israel’s budding ties with the Gulf states.
Only 27% of respondents said that, despite the article, Israel should carry out the as yet unclear annexation plan immediately, 23% said not to annex at all, 21% said the plan should be postponed, and 29% said they did not yet have an opinion on the plan.
Among Likud voters, 39% called for immediate annexation. But among voters who said they would cast ballots for Blue and White in the next election, only 11% said the plan should be implemented right away.