Israeli election polls: Netanyahu losing support to the extreme right

According to the latest polls, all center and left-wing parties will win fewer seats than in the current Knesset. 

A little over a month is left until the Knesset elections, and polls are being published more and more frequently, including six polls published just this weekend. We have updated five of them on our Poll Tracking Page; the sixth violates our house rules – presenting the “Arab Parties” as one bloc – and was therefore disqualified.

Here is an average of the polls presented as a pie chart. The blue parties represent the right wing, gray and black are the orthodox parties, purple represents the center, red represents the left and green the Arab and joint Arab-Jewish parties.

While these polls have considerable variations on the results for the individual parties (Tzipi Livni’s party ranges from 6.5 seats in one poll to 11 on another) a few common trends can be noticed:

– Avigdon Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Beitenu party is losing support to the hard right. Likud Bietenu is currently polling 37 seats (the two parties have 42 Knesset sears right now), and more importantly, the general trend is downward (Likud Beitenu had more than 38 seats in last week’s average, and closer to 40 a month ago). At the same time, Naftali Bennet’s National Religious Party now averages 12 seats, while the radical Otzma Le’Israel Party – which had a racist campaign ad disqualified by the central election committee last week – is coming very close to passing the minimum threshold. Combined, their average of 13 seats represent a rise of 6 seats from the number they have in the current Knesset. Netanyahu’s recent behavior and his willingness to confront the world on the issue of the settlements betray an understanding that his real challenge comes from the right.

– The center-left parties are not gaining momentum. When combined, Kadima, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah do not reach the number of seats Kadima held in the previous elections (28), and taken together, the center, left and Arab parties have fewer seats (52 in our poll average) than in the current Knesset (55). The right is still on the rise in Israel.

– The right-orthodox bloc holds a lead of roughly 10 seats over the center-left. Netanyahu is the only candidate who will be able to form a government after the elections. His problem will be the coalition, which might not be as stable as the current one, especially if Likud Beitenu ends up getting 35-36 seats or less.

We still have more than a month ahead of us, and the Likud campaign hasn’t started yet. Israeli election laws allocates campaign funding according to party sizes, which means that Netanyahu will be able to significantly outspend all of his rivals. Thus, the current trend might still reverse itself in favor of the prime minister.

Off topic: I started writing op-eds in Hebrew for Maariv daily paper again. Here is today‘s piece.