With 115 days left until the polling booths open for the 25th Knesset elections––an eternity in political terms––a Panels Politics poll conducted on July 6-7 by Menachem Lazar for Maariv gives the Likud’s candidate for prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, an enviable 61-seat, all-right-wing majority.
Here are the scores, remember, though, the survey included 711 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult population in the State of Israel aged 18 and over, 614 Jews and 97 Arabs, with data collection through the Panel4All web panel, and a maximum sampling error of +-4.2%, meaning that any figure presented below could be higher or lower by 4 seats (the numbers in phantasies represent each party’s current number of seats):
Likud – 36 (30)
Yesh Atid – 23 (17)
Religious Zionism – 10 (6)
Blue & White – 9 (8)
Shas – 8 (9)
United Torah Judaism – 7 (7)
Joint Arab List – 6 (6)
Labor – 6 (7)
Israel Beiteinu – 6 (7)
New Hope – 5 (6)
Ra’am – 4 (4)
Yamina – less than 3.25% (7)
Meretz – less than 3.25% (6)
The math: based on today’s bloc formation, Netanyahu’s coalition would include Likud (36) + Religious Zionism (10) + Shas (8) + UTJ (7) = 61.
Lapid’s coalition shrinks considerably: Yesh Atid (23) + Blue & White (9) + Labor (6) + Israel Beiteinu (6) + New Hope (5) + Ra’am (4) = 53.
As I’ve predicted repeatedly over the past weeks, Netanyahu is very likely to add Benny Gantz’s Blue & White to his coalition government, because Bibi has to have someone to his left in his government, bringing him up to 70 seats, which is a very solid and reliable number, see ya in four years.
But Netanyahu may prefer to go with a weaker coalition that would not include Religious Zionism, for two reasons: 1. Mk Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism constitutes an electoral threat to Likud as well as the Haredi parties, and letting him into the government would only boost his standing; 2. Mk Itamar Ben Gvir will not be easy to manage in a coalition that includes Gantz.
True, without Religious Zionism Netanyahu has only 60 seats, but as I said, it’s more than 100 days until election day and the pro-Likud trend is likely to increase, even if Yair Lapid scores high points as the country’s caretaker prime minister. His success at the helm may help him siphon more votes, but those would come from Meretz and Labor, and not from across the aisle. So that Yesh Atid would grow bigger, but the Lapid coalition would stay the same.