Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Yamina party leaders Ayelet Shaked (back seat) and Naftali Bennett arrive at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, September 18, 2019.

A poll published last week in Maariv suggested that the Likud party had managed to stop the hemorrhaging of its political power, perhaps due to the significant decrease in morbidity data in Israel following the second lockdown. But there’s no joy on Balfour Street this morning: Friday morning’s poll published by Maariv shows the Likud is once again losing ground.

According to the survey conducted by Menachem Lazar’s Panels Politics, had the 24th Knesset elections been held today, the party led by Benjamin Netanyahu would have won 28 seats, compared with 30 in the previous poll, and the 36 Knesset seats it actually has today.

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The decline in the Likud’s power is exploited by Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, which narrows the gap and gets 21 seats in the current poll compared to 20 in the previous poll – and – lest we forget – its current 5 Knesset seats.

Yesh Atid-Telem, led by Yair Lapid, continues to be the third largest party, but fails to threaten the Likud and does not cut down the gap with Yamina. Lapid’s party receives 17 seats in the current poll, a drop of one mandate compared to last week’s poll, and the party’s number of seats in the current Knesset.

Benny Gantz’s Blue&White shows a minor increase in today’s poll, climbing back to double-digits with 10 seats. In the real Knesset, Blue&White holds 14 seats. The rise could be attributed to Gantz’s more belligerent position against Netanyahu, threatening to make good on his promise to prevent Netanyahu from becoming prime minister ever again should he refuse to pass a budget by December 23.

The Joint Arab List headed by Ayman Odeh maintains its decline in recent polls to 12 seats, from its 15 seats in the actual Knesset. The List is affected by the very high rate of undecided in the Arab sector – 35%, even though at his point it’s the only game in town for Arab voters. There’s no doubt that Israel’s peace deals with the Gulf states and Sudan affects the willingness of Israeli Arabs to prefer the struggle for a Palestinian State – which tops the agenda of the Joint Arab List – over much more important matters like the violence in the Arab street, the corona pandemic, and the dire economic situation.

It is quite conceivable that a new Arab-Jewish binational party that will concentrate on social welfare issues would be able to reap many undecided votes in both the Arab and Jewish sectors. Already some within the List have been advocating cooperation with Likud rather than the traditional alignment with the Israeli left.

Yisrael Beiteinu, headed by Avigdor Liberman, is strengthening by one seat and rising to 9 seats (it has 7 seats in the real Knesset).

Shas gets 9 seats, United Torah Judaism 8 and Meretz 6.

Labor – 2.0%, Otzma Yehudit – 1.3%, Habayit Hayehudi – 0.5%, Derech Eretz – 0.5%, and Gesher – 0.3%, do not cross the 3.25% thershhold.

The survey was conducted on October 28, with a representative sample of the adult population in Israel 18 and over, Jews and Arabs. Maximum sampling error: +/- 4.4%.

Despite Netanyahu’s difficult situation based on this poll, a parallel poll conducted for Radio 103FM on who is most fitting to be prime minister showed that 65% of the Israeli public believe that Netanyahu is better suited for the job, compared to 35% who think Bennett is more suitable.

On the other hand, given the fact that the 21 seats Yamina received in Friday’s Maariv poll represent only 17.5% of the population, it seems that Bennett has a wide appeal among Israelis who won’t vote for his party.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.