Blue and White drops five seats, voters seem unfazed by Israel attorney general’s report

A week after Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced that he planned to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three cases, the Likud loses three seats, dropping to 26, compared to a loss of five seats for Blue and White.

Tzfat mayoral candidate Ilan Shohat casts his ballot at a voting station on the morning of the Municipal Elections, on Oct. 30, 2018, in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat. Credit: David Cohen/Flash90.
Tzfat mayoral candidate Ilan Shohat casts his ballot at a voting station on the morning of the Municipal Elections, on Oct. 30, 2018, in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat. Credit: David Cohen/Flash90.

The report by Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit last Thursday on the counts for which he plans to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pending a hearing, appears to have little effect on Likud voters, the newest Israel Hayom-i24NEWS poll shows.

According to the poll, if the Knesset election were held today, the Likud would win 26 seats, three fewer than last week’s poll. But the center-left Blue and White list saw a bigger drop and was projected to win 33 seats—five fewer than the findings from last week’s poll.

Overall, the blocs remained mostly the same. The poll predicted 62 combined seats for the right-wing and haredi parties, compared to a total of 58 seats for the left-wing bloc.

The poll also indicated that the larger parties were losing steam and votes to smaller parties. The New Right, the Union of Right-Wing Parties (Habayit Hayehudi, National Union and Otzma Yehudit) and United Torah Judaism parties were projected to win eight seats each.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party, Shas and Zehut under far-right activist Moshe Feiglin were each predicted to win four seats.

For the second week in a row, the Israel Hayom-i24NEWS poll predicted that Yisrael Beytenu would fail to pass the minimum electoral threshold. Not only would former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party fail to make it into the next Knesset, it would crash and burn, winning the support of a mere 1 percent of respondents.

On the left, the Labor Party had a little more color in its cheeks and was projected to win eight seats, compared to the seven predicted in last week’s poll. Meretz gained two seats and was projected to win eight seats. The Arab list Ta’al-Hadash was also predicted to win eight seats. A second merged Arab list, Balad-Ra’am, which the Central Election Committee disqualified on Wednesday from running for the Knesset, failed to pass the minimum threshold.

When asked who they thought was best qualified to serve as prime minister, 42 percent picked Netanyahu and 38 percent said Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. One-fifth of respondents said they didn’t know who was most qualified to serve as prime minister.

However, when given the choice between Netanyahu or Gantz as prime minister, 52 percent said that Netanyahu was the best pick for prime minister, compared to the 48 percent who said Gantz was the most qualified.

When asked whether Mandelblit’s report on the impending indictments against Netanyahu had affected how they would vote, 86 percent of respondents said it would not change their vote and only 14 percent said it would.

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