Latest poll: Bennett surges, Netanyahu’s Likud slips

Support for both Netanyahu and Gantz drops while Bennett’s Yamina party gains popularity.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A new public opinion poll released Thursday shows that if elections took place in Israel this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party would have weakened significantly and received only 29 seats, compared to 36 in the March elections, Channel 13 reports.

The poll also shows that the Blue and White Party headed by Netanyahu’s rival, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, continues to crash and would receive only eight seats.

The biggest gain in popular support is for former defense minister Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina Party, which would garner 19 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament, 13 more than it won in the March election.

The centrist Yesh Atid party that broke away from Blue and White would also get 19 seats, while the Joint List of Arab-majority parties is unchanged and would win 15 seats. The smaller parties would remain more or less the same, but should elections be held now, the Labor Party, which controlled Israel for decades, would be shut out totally from the Knesset.

According to the poll, support for right-wing parties would give them 63 seats and a possible slim majority, Yet despite repeated talk of coalition crises, elections that would break up the national unity government that took office in May after three consecutive inconclusive elections are not yet on the horizon.

As Israel continues to be battered by a second wave of coronavirus infections, the poll shows a majority of Israelis, 71 percent, believe the government is doing a bad job of managing the economic crisis, with 59 percent saying they are dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s performance.

Notwithstanding the responses showing public dissatisfaction, 51 percent of Israelis still think Netanyahu is suited to be prime minister, while only 31 percent say Gantz would be good for the job and 45 percent say he is the wrong man to lead the country.

Netanyahu’s government won praise for successfully navigating the first wave of infections, but since reopening the economy three months ago, the infection rate has increased and the second wave of infections has left more people sick with the virus than during the first wave.