Israeli poll shows surge in Likud support to 40 seats

The last time Likud managed to get 40 seats in the Knesset was in the 1988 elections under Yitzhak Shamir.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A public opinion poll released Monday by Israel’s Channel 12 news showed a surge in support for the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The poll conducted by the Midgam company showed that if elections had been held now, the Likud would have won 40 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament, a gain of four from their present 36 seats. The Blue and White party of opposition leader Benny Gantz would win only 19 seats compared to its current 33.

The poll showed the Joint List of Arab parties would get 15 seats, the Yesh Atid Party that broke away from Blue and White would get 10 seats, the religious parties Shas with 9 and United Torah Judaism 7, the right-wing Yemina party 7 and the left-wing Meretz party 3.

According to the poll, the Labor Party that dominated Israeli politics for the country’s first 25 years and battled Likud one-on-one in the 1980s and ’90s would not get enough votes to enter the Knesset. With support waning before the March 2 election, Labor joined in a left-wing alliance with Meretz and Gesher, managing to gain only three seats in its worst showing in election history.

Last week, Labor leader Amir Peretz said he would join a Netanyahu-led national unity government to face the coronavirus crisis, despite repeated campaign promises he would never sit in a Netanyahu-led government.

The poll results showed that should Netanyahu keep the trend going, he could theoretically have a 64 seat right-wing coalition.

The last time Likud managed to get 40 seats in the Knesset was in the 1988 elections under Yitzhak Shamir.

The results of the March 2 elections were inconclusive with neither Gantz nor Netanyahu able to cobble together enough partners to get a majority of at least 61 seats

Gantz was tasked on March 16 and given 28 days to form a new government. In a surprise move, he announced he would join a unity government under Netanyahu as the health and economic crisis worsened.

On Monday, both Netanyahu and Gantz said they were trying to iron out the final details for a coalition and were given an extension in a last-ditch effort to avoid forcing Israelis back to the ballot box during the pandemic.

The Channel 12 poll asked if people were satisfied with how the government has dealt with the coronavirus crisis. Overall, 64 percent expressed satisfaction, but along party lines 77 percent of right-wing supports were satisfied while 52 percent of left-wing supporters said they were not satisfied.