Ahead of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision to indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, some 64 percent of Israelis said the decision would not affect how they vote if a third general election is called, according to a poll commissioned by Israel Hayom.

Eighteen percent of respondents said that if Netanyahu faces criminal charges they would not vote for Likud, while four percent said they would definitely vote for Likud if the prime minister was indicted.

The poll, held just before Mandelblit made his announcement, was conducted by the Maagar Mochot polling institute among 500 respondents comprising a representative sample of Israelis 18 and over. The statistical margin of error is 4.3 percentage points.

Among Likud voters, nine percent said that if Netanyahu was indicted they would not vote for the Likud. Thirteen percent said the decision would encourage them to vote for Likud once again, and 17 percent had yet to form an opinion.

Most of the respondents who said that the indictment would prevent them from voting for Netanyahu identified as left-wing.

This means that while about 10 percent of Likud voters may change their vote following Mandelblit’s decision, Netanyahu still has some reason for optimism.

With respect to the political blocs, the gap between the right and the left has narrowed: The poll predicted that the right will secure 56 Knesset seats should a third election be called, and the center-left bloc, including the Joint Arab List, 57 seats.

Likud would win 33 mandates, Blue and White 34 and Yisrael Beiteinu would fall from its current nine seats to seven.

Asked who they believe is most suited to serve as prime minister, 44 percent of the respondents chose Netanyahu and 37 percent named Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.

However, 34 percent said they blame Netanyahu for the fact the efforts to form a new government have failed. Some 31 percent said Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, who refused to endorse either Likud or Blue and White, was at fault; only 4 percent said Gantz was to blame.

Nine percent said they believe Yesh Atid leader and Blue and White co-founder Yair Lapid prevented Gantz from moving ahead in the coalition talks, while two percent blamed ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, and 20 percent had no opinion on the matter.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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