Poll: Most Israeli Arabs Uninterested in Current Elections

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Arab town of Umm El-Fahm. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A poll of Israeli Arabs shows that only slightly more than half of them have definite plans to vote in Tuesday’s elections. A total of 56.6 percent said they would participate, while 34.1 percent have decided not to vote. 9.4 percent said they hadn’t decided yet. More men (62.1 percent) than women (51.2 percent) plan to vote. Based on the poll, Central Election Committee officials expect 51.2 of Arabs to vote, 12.5 percent fewer than in 2015.

Least likely to vote are individuals 35 to 44 years of age; only 49.5 percent of Arabs in that group said they would definitely vote. Among 25 to 34 year olds, 60.3 percent said they would vote, while among individuals over 55, the voting rate was likely to be closer to 70%.

The poll also showed differences in the likelihood of voting by religious affiliation. Only 45.2% of Druze Israelis said they would definitely vote. Among Muslims, the figure was 57.6 percent, while 57.4 percent of Christian Arabs said they would vote. The breakup of the United Arab List seems to have had a major impact on Arab motivation to vote. In a January poll taken before the UAL list disbanded, 62.7 percent of Arabs said they would definitely vote, while only 24.8 percent said they would not.

Asked why they did not want to vote, those who said they wouldn’t responded that they were not particularly interested in politics. 14.6 percent said they were opposed to Arab participation in Israeli elections, while 17.8 percent said they did not feel the lists running in the campaign represented them. Of those who said they would vote, 34.6 percent said they would choose Hadash-Ta’al, while 33.8 percent said they preferred Ra’am-Balad. 6.2 percent said they would vote for Blue and White, 5.1 percent for Meretz, and 2.1 percent said they would pick the Likud. 22.4 percent said that the Arab parties should recommend Benny Gantz as Prime Minister when asked by President Reuven Rivlin, while 8 percent said Binyamin Netanyahu was the preferred choice. 42.3 percent did not want the parties to recommend either candidate.