New Poll Has Netanyahu Back on Top

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attends a weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday. (Reuters/Dan Balilty/Pool)

Tensions between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon could eventually lead to new elections, many political observers believe – but if they do happen, it is the former who would profit and the latter who would face great losses, according to the latest poll by Channel Two. The poll shows Netanyahu and the Likud strengthening, with voters likely to give them 28 seats if elections were held today.

Meanwhile, Kahlon’s Kulanu party continues to show weakness, although the new poll released over the weekend has Kulanu less weak than previous polls. The current poll shows Kulanu garnering seven seats in new elections; most polls until now had shown the party getting six seats. Kulanu now has 10 seats in the Knesset. The party’s performance has not been helped by Kahlon’s recent announcement of tax and price breaks for the middle class. According to the poll, 85 percent of Israelis are in favor of Kahlon’s plan, with only 5 percent opposed to it. However, 45 percent of those polled said that it was unlikely that the plan would have an impact on their lives, while 41 percent said that it would help them.

If anyone is being helped by the plan, it is Netanyahu – ironically, said political analysts on Channel Two, as Kahlon took great pains not to share details of the plan with the prime minister before he presented it at a gala press conference last week. The positive Likud numbers come despite the fact that 61 percent of those polled said they were “dissatisfied” with Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister. Only 33 percent said they were “satisfied.”

Losing ground is Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, whose party comes in second, with 24 seats. Recent polls had shown Lapid leading, with Yesh Atid getting as many as 28 seats in a new Knesset. Further down in the poll comes the United Arab List, with 13 seats, and Zionist Camp, which gets 12 in the poll. Jewish Home comes in with 10 seats, while United Torah Judaism, Shas, Meretz and Yisrael Beitenu each garner six seats.