Poll: Just 7% Think Yamina-Led Government Is Actually Rightwing

(Israel Hayom) -
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressing the Knesset plenum. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

With the new government in office for just over a month and the Knesset set to enter its summer recess, how do Israelis feel about the coalition and the opposition?

A survey by the Maagar Mochot research institute for Israel Hayom found that if elections were held today, the Likud would remain the largest political party, garnering 29 seats. Yamina would improve its standing to garner nine seats compared to its previous seven, while New Hope would fail to pass the electoral threshold. Yamina’s two additional seats would come from supporters of New Hope and Yaron Zelekha’s Economic party, the latter of which failed to make it into the Knesset in the last election.

The coalition, which has focused its efforts on maintaining a stable political system, would likely gain one Knesset seat if elections were held today, according to the survey, for a total of 62 seats. The opposition, however, which has been actively working to topple the coalition, was predicted to lose a seat, making it even more difficult for it to form a government without Yamina.

According to the survey, Bennett still has a lot of work to do to convince Israelis he should be Israel’s leader.

Just 14% of respondents said he was suited for the role, far less than the 28% who said Yesh Atid leader and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid was a good fit for the job. Eight percent of respondents said Defense Minister and Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz was well-suited to the role, while 4% said they preferred New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar.

46% said Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu was the most suited for the premiership.

Twenty-one percent of respondents either provided other names or declined to answer.

Among Yamina voters, just 11% said Bennett was the best suited for the job.

The survey also examined how voters feel about Ra’am becoming the first Arab party to join an Israeli coalition.

A majority of respondents, 56%, said they were unhappy or very unhappy about the development, while 27% were undecided. Just 17% of respondents said they were pleased or very pleased by Ra’am’s joining the coalition.

Among Ra’am voters, however, 53% said they were fine with the party serving in the coalition, while 47% said they were pleased. Thirty-six percent of Joint Arab List voters said they were not happy about Ra’am joining the government, compared to the 28% who said they approved of the move.

A majority of Yamina voters, 68%, did not approve of the development.

As for the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, 29% ranked it as “fair,” while 12% said it was “poor,” and 24% described it as “very poor.” By contrast, 27% of respondents gave the coalition high marks on the pandemic.

Although Bennett has tried to present the coalition as more rightward-leaning than the previous government, just 7% of respondents agreed with his assessment. A quarter, 25%, said it was centrist, while 33% described the government as left-wing. Thirty-five percent said the government was a good balance between Right, Left, and center.

Bennett’s argument also appears to have failed to move Yamina voters. Just 6% said they would describe the coalition as right-wing.