YERUSHALAYIM - Despite multiple police investigations into his government and a new Labor party chairman out to topple him, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was leading in the latest poll on Thursday, eight mandates ahead of his nearest challenger, Yair Lapid.
The poll, conducted by Geocartography, sees Netanyahu’s Likud party losing only 1 seat, slipping from 30 to 29, compared to Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid with 21. That indicates erosion in Lapid’s popularity, after his party showed 24 in a Geocartography poll on May 26. According to the poll, Netanyahu’s current governing coalition would retain a majority, losing just 3 seats, falling from 67 to 64, a narrower majority of the 120 Knesset seats, but still viable.
The Labor party looked better than it has in some time, jumping from 11 in May to 19 following the election of Avi Gabbay to the chairmanship, replacing Isaac Herzog. At least some of Labor’s gain came at the expense of Yesh Atid.
Meretz sunk back to 5 seats from 8 in the last poll; not really a loss, though, since it currently has 5 actual seats in the Knesset from the 2015 elections.
The Jewish Home party would gain 2 seats if elections were held today, the poll showed, rising from 8 to 10, while Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu would lose 2, falling to just 4 seats.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party would drop two mandates, falling to eight.
The chareidi parties would remain unchanged overall, with 13 seats for United Torah Judaism and Shas combined. However, the poll predicted a shift of 3 seats from Shas to UTJ.
A second poll, conducted by Panels for Walla News, indicated a narrower lead for Netanyahu. It gave Likud 25 mandates, a loss of 5 compared to its present 30, while Yesh Atid would win 21 and the Zionist Camp (Labor) 19.
Panels projected a gain for United Torah Judaism from 6 to 8, while Shas would fall to five from the seven it won in the last election.
Prospects for former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon appeared bleak. At the head of an independent party, Yaalon failed to pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold. Former Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s Yahad and ex-Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut also failed to pass the threshold.