Poll: Most Israelis See Lockdown as ‘Failure by Government’

(Israel Hayom) -
Police set up temporary roadblocks on Road 40, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Jan. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Most of the public in Israel thinks that a fourth lockdown to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of COVID would be a failure on the part of the government, a new Israel Hayom poll shows.

The poll, conducted for Israel Hayom by the Maagar Mochot Institute, indicates that 58% of respondents feel that a lockdown represents a failure by the government, and 42% think that a lockdown is not a failure by the government to handle the COVID crisis.

The poll also indicates that if an election were held today, the Likud would win 32 seats and the right-wing bloc, including Yamina, would win 62 seats. Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party would not pass the electoral threshold.

The poll was conducted among a representative sample of 504 adult Israelis and had a margin of error of 4.4%.

Unsurprisingly, the poll showed that the spike in COVID cases, due mostly to the highly contagious Delta variant, was a major concern for respondents, with 67% saying they were worried or very worried about the latest outbreak. Another 21% of respondents said they were somewhat worried, and 12% said they were not worried about it.

With only weeks to go before the Yamim Nora’im, 45% of respondents said that a lockdown over the chagim would be an appropriate course of action if the government and health authorities are unable to stop the COVID outbreak, whereas 36% said it would not be the right thing to do. The remaining 19% said they did not know if the lockdown was the right course of action or not, if the current COVID outbreak is not halted.

This week, the Treasury announced that if the government declares another lockdown, the previous policy of paid furlough would not be on the table. A large majority of the public opposed that policy, with 76% of respondents saying that the paid furlough framework needed to be put back in place.

Talk of a fourth lockdown appears to be causing concern about the economic fallout of the latest outbreak: 41% of respondents said they were worried or very worried about a financial hit, and 31% said they were “sort of” worried about the financial ramifications to them of another lockdown. Meanwhile, 28% said they were not worried about the economic impact of the Delta outbreak.

As for how respondents would vote in an election today, Yamina dropped to eight seats, compared to the nine it was given in a poll conducted at the end of July. In the last election, the party won seven seats.

On the left, Labor would win six seats if an election were held today; Blue and White would win 10; and Yesh Atid would win 18, the poll showed.

United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beytenu, and the Religious Zionist Party were each projected to win seven seats if an election were held today, with eight seats projected for Shas and six seats each for Meretz and the Joint Arab List. Ra’am was expected to gain one seat, moving up to five.

When asked whom they saw as the most fitting person to serve as prime minister, 51% named Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu. Another 23% named Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid as the best person for the job, compared to only 12% who said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was the best person to serve as prime minister.

That trend held true among voters for Bennett’s Yamina party, with 44% picking Netanyahu as best qualified to serve as prime minister, compared to 34% who said Bennett was their pick for the job.