Poll Puts Lapid Second Behind Netanyahu, Yesh Atid First Ahead of Likud

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid giving a speech to party members. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid giving a speech to party members. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Public support for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud party continues to erode as Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party gains, according to a new opinion poll.

Netanyahu retained the lead as the person more Israelis prefer as prime minister than anyone else, with 44 percent, but Lapid has been closing the gap, now with 34 percent.

Thirty-three percent of Israelis told the Maariv-sponsored Panels Politics pollsters they approve of Netanyahu’s performance, although 59 percent said they disapprove of him personally.

If elections were held now, Yesh Atid would best the ruling Likud by five points, the poll found, 27 to 22.

Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog, a close contender for the premiership less than two years ago, currently occupies third place, the favored candidate for the leadership of only 19 percent of respondents versus 55 percent for Netanyahu in a one-on-one contest.

The Zionist Camp, which won 24 seats in 2015, would be reduced to just 10 if elections were held today.

Jewish Home improved its standing, with 14 seats, up from the 8 it won in 2015.

There was not much change seen among the other parties. The chareidi parties would make a net gain of one seat, from 13 to 14. Shas would keep its 7 seats, while United Torah Judaism would rise from 6 to 7.

The Arab Joint List party would remain stable at 13. Meretz would stay the same at 5.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party would drop from 10 seats to 6, while Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu would rise from 6 to 9, despite threatened indictments for corruption hanging over the heads of a number of former party officials.

The poll also posed a hypothetical scenario, with a “Liberal Likud” faction entering the race, bringing together former Interior Minister Gideon Saar, former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and Kulanu’s Moshe Kahlon (also a former Likud member).

That combination would get 19 mandates, making it the third-biggest party in the country. Likud would still come out on top with 21, and Yesh Atid would have 20.