(February 28, 2020 / Israel Hayom) With elections mere days away the last Israel Hayom-i24 News poll before Israelis go to the ballot box projects a dead heat between ruling party Likud, and challenger Blue and White, but says that overall, the right-wing bloc secures a narrow, one-mandate lead.
Monday’s general elections mark an unprecedented third vote in the span of one year. But with polls consistently indicating a race that is too close to call between the two major parties, and given that neither the right- nor the left-wing bloc has emerged as being able to secure the 61-seat majority necessary to form a government, concerns that Israel will find itself facing a fourth vote in the fall of 2020 are growing.
The survey, which under Israeli election laws is the last that can be published ahead of the March 2 vote, projected 33 seats each for Likud and Blue and White.
The Joint Arab List, an alliance comprising the Arab or mostly Arab parties Balad, Ra’am-Ta’al, and Hadash, is expected to with 14 seats, retaining its position as the third-largest faction in the Knesset.
The poll gave the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance nine seats—a similar number to the mandates Yamina, a faction comprising the New Right, National Union, and Habayit Hayehudi parties, is expected to garner.
Next came Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas (8), its Ashkenazi counterpart United Torah Judaism (7) and Yisrael Beiteinu, also with seven seats.
The far-right Otzma Yehudit Party does not pass the prerequisite four-Knesset-seat electoral threshold of 3.25 percent of the votes.
The survey, by the Maagar Mochot polling institute, shows that neither political bloc would be able to muster a majority in the 120-seat Knesset: The right-haredim bloc is projected to secure 57 seats, whereas the center-left and Arab parties would have a combined 56 seats. This again gives Yisrael Beiteinu the key to the fate of the next government.
Asked who is better-suited for the role of the prime minister, 49 percent named Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 35 percent chose Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, and 16 percent said they did not know or had no opinion on the matter.
Asked what they thought about the latest election campaign, 44 percent of respondents said they thought the parties ran a dirty campaign, 32 percent said it was boring, 5 percent found it to be fair, 4 percent said it was violent, 3 perfect thought it was worthy, and 12 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion on the matter.
Asked if the various campaigns and events that have taken place in recent weeks changed their voting inclinations, 12 percent of respondents said they changed their mind during the campaign, and the reminder 88 percent said they did not. Overall, 9 percent of Likud supporters said they changed their minds, as did 11 percent of Blue and White supporters.
The most significant factor for Likud voters in the elections remains the identity of the party’s leader (42 percent), the poll found. Among Blue and White voters, only 26 percent said the same.
Asked whether the fact that they have to vote for the third time in one year has affected how they perceive the political system, 69 percent of the respondents said they thought less of Israeli politics over this logjam, 27 percent said their opinion hasn’t changed, and 4 percent said they thought better of Israeli politics for it.
As for what lies ahead, 38 percent of those polled said they believed a fourth vote would be called. Some 31 percent think a right-wing government will be formed, 11 percent argued that a national unity government will be cobbled together, 9 percent hedged on a left-wing government, and 11 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion on the matter.
The poll was conducted using a representative sample of 1040 eligible voters in Israel. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.
This article originally appeared in Israel Hayom.
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