Year after election, 46% of Israelis see alternative to PM

The poll was taken in honor of Thursday’s anniversary of the March 17, 2015 general election in which Netanyahu’s Likud Party emerged victorious by a wide margin.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Forty-six percent of Israelis believe there will be a replacement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the near future, according to a Panels Research poll taken Tuesday and Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister paper, Maariv Sof Hashavua.
The poll was taken in honor of Thursday’s anniversary of the March 17, 2015 general election in which Netanyahu’s Likud Party emerged victorious by a wide margin.
Asked if there is a replacement for Netanyahu as prime minister in sight, 46% of respondents said yes, 41% said no, and 13% said they did not know. But among Likud voters, 70% said there was no replacement for Netanyahu, 23% said there was, and seven percent said they did not know.
The poll asked Israelis who they would prefer in one-on-one races between Netanyahu and various challengers.
The candidates who fared the best were Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett, and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the latter two of whom will be speaking at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York May 22.
The random poll surveyed 511 Israelis and has a margin of error 4.3%.
In a Netanyahu-Lapid race, 47% preferred Netanyahu and 36% Lapid. The prime minister would defeat Bennett 40% to 29%. Between Netanyahu and Ashkenazi, 44% said the former and 30% the latter.
The potential challengers who faired the poorest against Netanyahu, were Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, who would lose to him, 56%- 25%, and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, who would be defeated 49%-23%.
Among Likud candidates, 20% of respondents said they would prefer that Netanyahu be replaced by former minister Gideon Sa’ar, 12% by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, 11% by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, nine percent by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, and seven percent by Transportation Minister Israel Katz.
Twenty-three percent said none of the above. Only 17% of respondents said they regretted their choice in last year’s election, compared to 78% who said they did not regret it, and five percent who said they did not know.
The parties whose voters regretted their choice most were Kulanu, the Joint List, and Zionist Union, and Yisrael Beytenu. The parties with the fewest regrets were United Torah Judaism, Meretz and Yesh Atid.
When asked what party they regret not voting for, Yesh Atid was the top choice of voters of six parties. 36% of Kulanu voters, and 19% each of Zionist Union and Yisrael Beytenu voters said they regretted not voting for Lapid’s party.
If elections would be held now, the Likud would fall from 30 seats to 26, Yesh Atid would rise from 11 to 21, Zionist Union would fall from 24 to 15, Bayit Yehudi would rise from eight to 12, the Joint List would fall from 13 to 12, Yisrael Beytenu would rise from six to nine, UTJ would rise from six to seven, Shas would fall from seven to six, Meretz would rise from five to six, and Kulanu would plummet from 10 to six.
Asked if they believe Herzog should join the government, 65% said no, 21% said yes, and 14% did not know.
Respondents were more positive about Lapid joining, with 36% saying yes, 53% no, and 11% not knowing.
When asked to grade ministers on a 1-to-10 scale, as in other recent polls, the top grade went to Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, followed by Transportation Minister Israel Katz, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The two Shas ministers, Religious Services Minister David Azoulay and Interior Minister Arye Deri, received the lowest grades, with Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) not far behind them.
The grade given to Herzog in his role as opposition leader was worse than those received by every minister in the cabinet, though Netanyahu was given grades almost as bad for his performance in three of his portfolios.
As reported in another survey by a different pollster last weekend, if Israelis were to choose between the two front-running candidates for president of the United States, Democrat Hillary Clinton would beat Republican Donald Trump. Forty-five percent said they preferred Clinton, 33% Trump, and 22% said they did not know who they would choose.