Poll shows Netanyahu-led bloc winning 61 seats, enabling government formation

The bloc of parties loyal to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could receive 61 mandates in the upcoming election, enabling it to easily form a government, according to a new poll published Friday.

The poll, conducted by Panels Politics for the Maariv newspaper, is the first one this election season to show that Netanyahu’s bloc could reach the threshold required to establish a government without any parties switching sides.

With nearly four months remaining before Israelis head to the polls on November 1, anything can change. And while Israel’s opinion polls can often be unreliable, they do influence the decision-making of politicians and voters, particularly in the run-up to the deadline when party lists must be finalized.

Friday’s poll predicted that the right-wing Yamina and the left-wing Meretz — both members of the current coalition — will fall below the electoral threshold required to enter the Knesset.

If elections were held today, Netanyahu’s Likud party would receive 36 seats, the poll predicted, its strongest showing in recent weeks.

Caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would be the second-biggest faction with 23 mandates, while the far-right Religious Zionism party led by Bezalel Smotrich would be third, with 10 seats.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid arrives for the first cabinet meeting after lawmakers dissolved parliament, in Jerusalem, July 3, 2022. (Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool via AP)

Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party would come in fourth, according to the poll, with nine seats. The Haredi party Shas, led by Aryeh Deri, received eight mandates, while United Torah Judaism, led by Moshe Gafni, received seven.

Three parties were each shown to receive six mandates, including Merav Michaeli’s Labor, Ayman Odeh’s Joint List and Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu. Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope received five seats in the poll.

At the bottom of the list was Mansour Abbas’s Ra’am, struggling with the minimum four mandates, followed by Yamina, now led by Ayelet Shaked, which did not cross the threshold and received 2.6% and Nitzan Horowitz’s Meretz, which has failed to cross the threshold in recent polls and received only 2.2% in the current one.

Both Sa’ar and Liberman have vowed not to sit in a government led by Netanyahu, while Michaeli said Monday that she would not rule out sitting in a government with Haredi parties, adding that her party will not run on a joint platform with the dovish Meretz party.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked in the plenum hall of the Knesset, on June 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The poll’s findings serve as a blow to Shaked, who had hoped to position herself as a legitimate replacement for Bennett as Yamina’s leader. A poll conducted last week, just before Bennett announced he was quitting politics and transferring the Yamina leadership to Shaked, found that Yamina would have received 5 seats in the upcoming elections.

The survey was carried out via phone and internet between July 6-7 among 711 eligible voters and includes a 4.2 percent margin of error.

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