Netanyahu slips as Benny Gantz takes lead in latest poll with one week to go

A new poll found Blue and White taking the lead exactly one week before the elections. 

By World Israel News Staff

A poll published by Israeli news outlet Kan Reshet Bet on Tuesday, exactly one week before the elections, shows the Blue and White party pulling ahead by one mandate, or Knesset seat, and ahead of the Netanyahu-led Likud party.

The poll shows the Likud losing one mandate for a total of 31 seats over a previous poll. Blue and White gained a seat for a total of 32.

However, the poll also shows that the Likud remains closer to forming a governing coalition once smaller satellite parties from the Right are included. A right-wing, religious coalition receives 58 mandates while a center-left one receives 53, according to the poll.

Israeli media has focused on the fact that Otzma Yehudit (or “The Jewish Power”) party is shown to pass the electoral threshold in the poll. It’s the third time a poll has shown the far right-wing party making it into the Knesset.

However, the four seats Otzma Yehudit would bring are included in the 58 total, meaning even if the party succeeded in passing the electoral threshold, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would still not have enough Knesset seats to form a government.

The meaning is that Netanyahu may find himself in largely the same position as after the April elections, when Avigdor Liberman of the Israel Beiteinu party was the deciding factor.

Polls show Liberman emerging even stronger after the coming elections, although this newest poll shows him winning nine seats while other polls predicted 10. In April, Liberman only had five.

Liberman, who may play kingmaker, has said he wants a broad national-union government that includes the two biggest parties, Likud and Blue and White. The only parties he says he will exclude are the haredi parties as he has run on a platform promising to reduce the influence of religion in public life.

Smaller parties that lost one mandate over the previous Kan poll include, on the Right, Yemina (9) and on the Left,  Democratic Union (6) and Labor-Gesher (5).

The poll was conducted by Kantar and has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.