Poll: 88% of Israelis Have Not Changed Their Minds Since Last Election

Likud Party campaign banners, one depicting party leader Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the other depicting Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz sitting with Ahmad Tibi, coleader of the Joint [Arab] List. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

The last poll that will be released before Monday’s election shows the Likud and Blue and White running neck and neck, with both parties predicted to get 33 seats. Altogether, the right-wing/chareidi bloc backing Binyamin Netanyahu would get 57 seats, compared to 42 for the center-left. Both Yisrael Beytenu and the United Arab List remained the kingmakers, getting 7 and 14 seats respectively.

On the left Labor-Meretz-Gesher polls at 9 seats, an increase over recent polls and an indication that voters have abandoned Blue and White to the benefit of the Amir Peretz grouping. On the right, Yemina comes in with 9 – higher than in recent polls, and an indication that some religious right-wing voters are “returning home” to their preferred party. Shas comes in with 8, and United Torah Jewry would get 7, according to the Yisrael Hayom poll. Otzma Yehudit does not pass the electoral threshold.

Three days before the election, Netanyahu remains the people’s choice for prime minister, with 49% preferring him over Benny Gantz. Only 35% of Israelis want Benny Gantz as prime minister. But 16% are still undecided.

Perhaps the most telling question in the poll was the one in which participants were asked if the months of electioneering – and the millions of shekels spent – had changed their mind on whom to vote for. For 88% of Israelis, the answer was “no” – and that they would be voting for the same party or political grouping they chose in the September election.

For Likud voters, the fact that Netanyahu was leading the list is the Likud’s most attractive feature, the poll showed. 42% said they were voting Likud chiefly to choose Netanyahu as prime minister. Among Blue and White voters, only 26% said they chose the party in order to propel Gantz to the prime minister’s office; 28% of Blue and White voters said their motivation was to stop Netanyahu from getting another term.

With that, Israeli voters seem to sense that Netanyahu and the Likud will play a major role in the next government – if there is one. 31% said that they believed the next government would be a right-wing one; only 9% said they believed a center-left government would be formed. A slightly higher percentage, 11%, said they saw a unity government in the offing. But by far the most common opinion – held by 38% of voters – was that there will be fourth elections, the poll showed.