New Poll Shows Otzma Yehudit Closing In on Electoral Threshold

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

With two weeks to go until the elections, a poll published Tuesday by Walla News shows that the Likud is still hanging on as the biggest party in the next Knesset – but Binyamin Netanyahu will be hard-pressed to form a government. The Likud itself would get 32 seats if elections were held today, while its coalition partners – Yemina, United Torah Judaism and Shas – would respectively get 10, 8, and 7 seats.

That comes out to 57 seats, which is about what nearly all polls have shown in recent weeks Netanyahu can expect. However, more recent polls have shown that Otzma Yehudit, led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, is inching closer to Knesset representation.

With the withdrawal of Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party, more votes are moving to Ben-Gvir, and the Walla poll has Otzma polling at 2.7% of the electorate, still shy of the 3.25% needed for Knesset representation, but closer than at any time during the current election campaign. If Otzma can pull in some more votes and meet the electoral threshold, it would get 4 seats in the Knesset – giving a rightwing government led by Netanyahu 61 seats, assuming he could make a deal with all the parties.

Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party remains a bone in the throat of both Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. The latter’s Blue and White Party would get 31 seats if elections were held today, while its “natural allies” – the Democratic Camp and Labor – would get seven seats each. That would give Gantz 45 seats. The United Arab List, which is unlikely to join a Gantz-led government, would get 10 seats. Even if that party voted against a Likud-led government and abstained on a government established by Gantz, the Blue and White leader would still not have enough votes to establish a government.

Netanyahu is still seen as the best candidate for prime minister, with 39% of those polled naming him as the preferred head of government. While that number was lower than in previous polls, in which Netanyahu polled in the low 40% range, it was still better than the numbers for Gantz, whom 30% saw as the best choice. Among right-wing voters, 65% saw Netanyahu as the preferred prime minister, but among center-left voters, only 54% would choose Gantz. Of those, 27% said neither one should be prime minister.