Likud continues to hold giant lead in public opinion polls

Even after a dramatic week in the campaign for the April 9 Knesset election, the prime minister’s party remains in the driver’s seat. 

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can feel confident about his chances in the April parliamentary election, despite dramatic moves involving other parties and reports that a decision will be announced by the attorney general before the election over whether the prime minister will face indictment for alleged political corruption.

A public opinion poll released Wednesday by Kan public television and radio shows his Likud winning 28 seats. It’s a bit less than the 30 seats that the party now holds in the 120-seat parliament. But consider this: the closest party to the Likud in the opinion poll is the just-formed Israel Resilience, headed by former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz with just half of the Likud’s power, 14 seats.

This is where the race starts getting close. Right behind Gantz is MK Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party with 13 seats, followed by a combined non-Zionist faction called the Joint List with 12. They are followed by the just-announced New Right party headed by cabinet ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. The two bolted their top positions in the Jewish Home party which, according to this poll, would not win any seats in the upcoming election.

Next in line are three parties with seven seats each: Labor, running without Hatnua, Kulanu headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and United Torah Judaism. Labor leader Avi Gabbay’s decision to break the alliance with Hatnua leaves the latter with no seats, according to this survey. There is also a three-way tie with six seats: Meretz, Gesher, and Shas. Trailing behind as the smallest Knesset faction would be Yisrael Beiteinu headed by MK Avigdor Liberman, who resigned in November as defense minister.

Though this poll shows a tremendous lead for the Likud, it means that if an election were held now, Netanyahu would again need a number of parties to join a coalition that represents a majority of the Knesset.