Analysts: ‘Election Fatigue’ Could Be a Major Factor in Contest

YERUSHALAYIM -
A voter inside a mobile voting booth, during the April elections. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Ennui and “election fatigue” may play an important role in next week’s election, analysts told Yediot Acharonot Tuesday. For many, next Tuesday’s Knesset election will be the fourth time they were called to the polls in the past calendar year – including Tuesday’s elections, the national elections last April, and municipal elections last October, which in many cities required a second runoff election.

Analysts said that based on their research, the percentage of eligible voters who will not bother voting will rise by at least 1%, but that could be a conservative estimate. This is the first time a national election will be held in September, traditionally a busy month, with people coming off their summer vacations and preparing their kids for school, as well as for the Yamim Nora’im.

In addition, this is the soonest new elections to have ever been held after a previous election; prior to the April and September 2019 elections, the shortest period of time between two elections was a year and nine months. In addition, more voters will be abroad during next week’s election than were abroad in April. Interior Ministry figures show that there are currently 1,242,746 Israelis currently abroad- a figure that is not expected to change significantly next week – compared to 1,156,877 that were abroad in April. It is estimated that about two thirds of them are eligible voters, which means that there will be approximately 57,000 fewer voters at the polls.

Given all that, “we have no precedent to rely on that would indicate how many voters will stay home, although traditionally the summer and the period immediately following it are not politically active periods,” the analysts said.

However, they said, “the experience in other countries shows that when you have a second round of elections so soon after a first failed round, many people tend to say that there is no point in voting – if they couldn’t make things work the first time, there’s no reason to assume they will be able to do so the second time.

The biggest beneficiaries of the situation are expected to be the chareidi parties, the analysts said, as they are among the most loyal to their parties. In the April elections, there were only four towns in which 80% or more of voters came to the polls, three of them chareidi – including Modi’in Ilit (84.5%), Elad (84.6%), and Rechasim (86.3%).