Third Poll Shows Likud Continues to Lead

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu leading a Likud party faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Yet another poll released Friday – this one by the Smith Organization on behalf of Maariv – shows that the Likud continues to lead as the preferred party among voters. If elections were held today, the party would get 28 seats in a new Knesset, and easily be able to form a new government. Two other polls released Thursday showed similar results

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not necessarily need to be leading the party, though. The Maariv poll showed that 48 percent of those polled said that Netanyahu was “very corrupt” or “somewhat corrupt.” 22 percent said he was “not corrupt at all,” while 19 percent said that if he was corrupt, it was not at a level that would require him to resign his post.

Coming in behind the Likud is Yesh Atid, with 22 seats, Zionist Camp with 15, the United Arab List with 12, Jewish Home with 11, Yisrael Beytenu and United Torah Judaism with 7 each, Meretz with 6 and Shas with 5. According to the polls, neither Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid nor Zionist Camp’s Avi Gabay would be able to form a coalition, unless they included each other’s respective parties – considered a long shot by most political analysts – as well as including both UTJ and Shas, considered a nonstarter, especially in the case of Lapid.

As far as what Netanyahu himself should do, the poll showed that 47 percent believe that he needs to either resign or temporarily step down as Prime Minister. 43 percent say he can remain on the job, at least until or if an indictment is handed down. Among Likud voters, 79 percent say Netanyahu should remain on as Prime Minister, a view held only by 11 percent of Zionist Camp voters and 25 percent of Yesh Atid supporters. If Netanyahu needs to be replaced, 29 percent of Likud voters said they preferred former minister and MK Gideon Saar, while 20 percent preferred Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and 8 percent for Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

In addition, the poll showed that 43 percent of Israelis believe that Netanyahu’s political strength has now been reduced, as he is more beholden to his coalition partners, especially on the right. Fifty-nine percent believe that the investigations, even if they do not lead to an indictment, will impact Netanyahu’s ability to run the country properly.

Two polls released Thursday also portray the Likud as the leading party. A Hadashot News poll taken a day after the police said that Netanyahu should be prosecute for corruption in two cases shows that the Likud would get 26 seats in a new Knesset, more than the party currently has. A poll by Channel Ten shows the Likud getting 27 seats.

Both polls showed that about half of Israelis believe the allegations against Netanyahu, at least in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu was accused of accepting extravagant gifts from millionaire Arnon Milchin, mostly cigars and champagne. About a quarter believe police are trying to “railroad” the Prime Minister, the polls show, while about another quarter said they were not sure. In the Hadashot News poll, 48 percent of those polled said that Netanyahu should resign in the wake of the allegations, while 36 percent said he did not have to resign.

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