Final Israeli election polls slow Likud with slight edge over Blue and White

Predictions run 33 seats for the Likud and 31 for Blue and White, but show that a left-wing coalition that includes the Arab parties would win 62 seats, ensuring the right would be shut out.

Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Gili Yaari and Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Gili Yaari and Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

The final poll in the second round of Israeli elections indicates that the trends of the past two weeks are growing stronger, with the two biggest parties coming in at a near tie.

But looking at the major blocs, a left-wing one includes the Joint Arab List and Yisrael Beiteinu appears to have an advantage.

An i24NEWS-Israel Hayom poll conducted by the Maagar Mohot Institute surveyed a representative sample of adult Israeli eligible voters. The poll had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

The poll predicted that the Likud would win 33 seats—the largest number for any party. The center-left Blue and White trailed by two seats, winning a projected 31.

The Joint Arab List, which appears to have been energized by the controversy around a proposal to place cameras at polling places, won the third-largest number of predicted seats at 12.

Yisrael Beiteinu dropped to a projected nine seats, followed by the haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, each of which was predicted to win seven seats.

Yamina (formerly the New Right) under Ayelet Shaked was projected to win seven seats.

On the left, six seats were projected for Labor-Gesher, bringing it farther away from the risk of not making it past the minimum electoral threshold of 3.25 percent. However, the Democratic Union seemed to be in trouble and was projected to win only four seats.

The poll also showed for the second week in a row that the far-right Otzma Yehudit passing the minimum threshold with a projected four seats.

All of the parties are expected to invest more resources than usual in getting voters to the polls on Tuesday. Most of the campaign took place during summer vacation during a repeat election; both these factors could lead to low voter turnout, which could have a major effect on the results.

The i24NEWS-Israel Hayom poll tried to ascertain how certain supporters of various parties are that they will actually vote.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents said they were 100 percent sure they would be voting. Another 21 percent said it was highly likely they would vote. Only 13 percent said it was “somewhat likely” or “unlikely” that they would vote.

The most gung-ho voters were supporters of Shas, 79 percent of whom said they were absolutely sure they would be casting ballots. Just behind the Shas, in terms of declared voter turnout, was United Torah Judaism, with 77 percent of supporters saying they would be voting —the same percentage of Blue and White voters who say they will definitely vote.

However, only 69 percent of Likud voters say they definitely plan to vote in the election.

If we look only at the respondents who said they definitely plan to vote, Blue and White won the most seats, coming in at 33, followed by the Likud at 32 seats.

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the right-wing public, especially Likud voters, were comparatively apathetic compared to left-wing voters.

This can be explained by another one of the questions on this week’s poll. Respondents were asked, regardless of their political alignment, who would be charged with putting together the next government. Half of respondents said it would be Netanyahu, and only 25 percent thought that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz would be the person who would form the next government. Leaving out the 25 percent of respondents who said they didn’t know who would be charged with putting together the government, 67 percent said it would be Netanyahu, compared to 33 percent who said they thought it would be Gantz. When a Netanyahu victory is seen as a sure thing, it’s no wonder that right-wing voters might be inclined to stay home.

When asked who was most qualified to serve in the top job, 49 percent of respondents picked Netanyahu, compared to 33 percent who chose Gantz. To the more specific question of who is best qualified to handle defense and security matters, 48 percent of respondents backed Netanyahu, compared to 35 percent for Gantz.

Netanyahu was also the favorite when it came to economic issues, with 41 percent saying he could best handle the economy. Some 36 percent said that Gantz was best qualified to handle the economy. However, when it came to social issues, Gantz came out ahead, with 39 percent saying he was best qualified to address social issues, compared to 33 percent who said Netanyahu was best-equipped to handle social matters.

When asked about blocs, rather than specific parties, 50 percent of respondents said they intended to vote for the right, compared to 18 percent who said they intended to vote for the left. Another 26 percent said they were in the center and 6 percent gave other responses.

Another question tried to pinpoint respondents’ attitudes about the election. Fifty-three percent characterized it as “dirty,” while 10 percent called it “violent.” In contrast, 11 percent characterized it as “fair,” compared to 8 percent who said it was “appropriate.”

Blue and White billboards are promising a “secular unity government,” and Lieberman has been touting a similar message these past few months.

But how many voters actually want a unity government after the election? Not all that many, it turns out.

Only 23 percent said they would like to see a unity government, compared to 41 percent who said they wanted to see a right-wing government, which Netanyahu is promising. Another 26 percent said they wanted the election to result in a left-wing government.

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