A full week after State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit announced that Binyamin Netanyahu was to be indicted on corruption and bribery charges, a poll shows that his Likud party has not been impacted by the prime minister’s legal issues – nor has Netanyahu’s popularity been impaired.
A Yisrael Hayom poll conducted by the Ma’agar Mohot organization shows that the Likud would get 33 seats if new elections were held now. Although Blue and White would get 35, the right-wing/chareidi coalition that includes the New Right, Shas and United Torah Judaism would get 56 seats – one more than it currently has.
If the current bloc survived another election, the Likud could count on 9 seats from Shas, 8 from UTJ, and 6 from the New Right. Benny Gantz, head of Blue and White, would get support from the 4 seats each contributed by Labor and the Democratic Camp, giving him a coalition of 43 seats. Yisrael Beytenu would get 8 seats, and the United Arab List 13. Not passing the electoral threshold are Otzma Yehudit, Jewish Home and National Union, but a merger of the latter two could get them Knesset representation, the poll shows.
Among Likud voters, Netanyahu remains by far the favorite. MK Gideon Saar this week openly challenged Netanyahu for party leadership, but the poll shows that no fewer than 88% of Likud voters want to see the prime minister at the helm if new elections are held. Only 8% prefer Saar. And if Saar does take over the party, the poll shows that the Likud would lose at least 5 seats. The right-wing/chareidi bloc would lose one seat to Blue and White.
Netanyahu is also the people’s choice in a general election. 43% of those polls want him to continue on in office, while 39% said Gantz would be a better choice; 16% said they had yet to make up their mind. With that, 43% of those polled said that Netanyahu should resign when indictments are formally handed down. 12% said that he need not resign but should recuse himself for the period of his trial, while 35% said that even that was unnecessary.
Whatever their politics, the majority of Israelis want a government established now, avoiding third elections. 57% of those polled said that they wanted to see unity government of some sort, while only 26% were prepared to support new elections.
If elections are held, Israelis don’t see much of a change in the current political stalemate; 44% believe that the next elections will yield results similar to the previous two, preventing establishment of a government. 18% believe that the left would benefit from new elections, while 19% said the right would, according to the poll.