Survey: Majority of voters unmoved by Netanyahu indictments

Part of the poll was taken after the attorney-general made his announcement to indict the prime minister.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Nearly two thirds of the Israeli public said that a decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on serious corruption charges would not influence them to change their vote if there is another election, a poll taken for Hebrew daily Israel Hayom revealed Sunday.

The “Maagar Mochot” poll was taken over a two-day span both before and after Israel’s attorney-general announced Thursday night that the State Attorney’s Office would be indicting the Israeli leader on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

While 64 percent of the respondents wouldn’t switch to another party in such a case, 18 percent said an indictment would cause them to drop Likud from consideration.

Of that number, fully half were people who voted Likud in the past. On the other hand, while only four percent in general said it would specifically cause them to support the party and Netanyahu in a third election, 13 percent of Likud respondents said it would impel them to support the prime minister and the Likud.

Some good news for the prime minister came from the question of who is most responsible for the current political impasse. In the beginning of the month, as Blue and White leader Benny Gantz was working to form a government, 39 percent pointed the finger at Netanyahu. Now, that number has dropped to 34 percent.  More now blame Avigdor Liberman (29% prior v. 31% now), putting him second in the blame game.

The good news for Gantz is that only four percent hold him personally responsible, with his number two, Yair Lapid receiving more of the blame (9%). However, in a head-to-head battle with the prime minister, Gantz still trails Netanyahu significantly, as according to the poll, 44 percent still think Netanyahu is more fit to lead the country than he is (37%).

Thousands of Netanyahu fans have taken to the streets in demonstrations to show their support since the indictment announcement, mostly near the prime minister’s home in Jerusalem. Netanyahu came out to thank them personally for their support.

In general, if elections were held today, the poll suggests that there would be just a single seat’s difference between the left wing-Arab bloc and the right-wing bloc (57 mandates vs 56). A similar showing is revealed between the two largest parties, with the Likud trailing Blue and White  33 seats to 32.

This would mean that for a third time in a year, Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu party would hold the same “kingmaker” position, with a projected seven seats.