Likud loses gains in recent popularity poll

Due to the government’s handling of current issues, the Likud’s popularity has dropped in recent weeks, as reflected in a new poll. 

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

If Israel went to elections today, says a Midgam poll publicized Tuesday night, the ruling Likud party would receive 30 Knesset seats, the same number it has now.

In recent weeks, polls gave the party as many as 35 seats.

This may be connected to current events. Only 21% said they were satisfied with the way the government was handling the incendiary balloon and kite attacks from Gaza, with an overwhelming 70% saying they were dissatisfied. This was a 6% jump from a poll taken last month.

In addition, 56% supported the recent surrogacy protests, versus only 33% who did not. This was an issue in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flip-flopped, and a majority seemingly does not agree with his final decision not to allow male couples or male singles to have children through surrogate means.

In other words, the boost the Likud received from the US embassy opening in Jerusalem and its mainly successful efforts in containing the mass protests and attempted infiltrations over the Gazan border that were at their peak at the time did not last.

Overall, however, there was only a slight change over the past two and a half months in the responses concerning most of the Likud’s current coalition partners.

The parties considered more to the right have either returned to their current number (Jewish Home with eight seats) or gained modestly (Yisrael Beitenu has gone from its current five to seven mandates). The ultra-Orthodox parties either stayed the same (United Torah Judaism still has seven seats) or rebounded slightly (Shas is now set to lose only two seats and has five mandates). Kulanu, though up one seat from May, is still the biggest loser, down from its 10 seats to seven.

On the other side of the Knesset aisle, Yesh Atid’s gains have improved slightly, and an election now would have it at 19 seats, making Yair Lapid leader of the opposition, since the Zionist Union has not managed to regain the confidence of the public and is still set to lose nine seats, giving it only 15 mandates. Meretz and the Joint List would stay the same at five and 12 seats respectively.

The total opposition, therefore, currently stands at a low 51 seats, and since Arab parties have historically not joined government coalitions, there is no apparent possibility of the left managing to form a government – if elections were imminent, which by all accounts is not the case.

The biggest potential winner remains Orli Levi-Abekasis, who broke from Yisrael Beitenu when it entered the coalition to become a one-person faction. She is still predicted to win five seats in her as-yet-unannounced new party.

The Midgam company polled 557 respondents, with a maximum sampling error of 4.2%.