Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud rally, against a cartoon showing Beny Gantz piggybacking on Ahmad Tibi, with the slogan: ' doesn't have a government without Ahmad Tibi.' Gantz February 26, 2020.

Direct Polls, which last week led the field in predicting the right’s slow rise above the left (Survey Claims Voters Trending Away from Gantz to the Right, But Not to Netanyahu), and which was later verified by all the major polls in Israel, on Thursday afternoon issued its final survey that, for the first time, shows the needle moving significantly to the right.

Direct Polls, February 27, 2020

Here is the last trend that emerges 96 hours before the March 2 election, with the latest survey’s 3 takeaways:

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1. The rightwing-Haredim bloc is a hairbreadth away from 60 seats (just over 59). The center-left-Arabs bloc is at 54-55 seats. Lieberman is down to 6 seats.

2. The prospect of the right succeeding in forming a 61-seat coalition government is more likely than the prospect of Israel going to fourth elections.

3. For the first time, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit sinks below 1%, to 0.96%. There’s no way they will come back from there; if you vote for them, you might as well do it by the Dead Sea, make it a family trip.

Two major factors have boosted the rightwing bloc, in a slow trend that the survey editors have already identified a month ago and has increased over the past week:

The first: for the first time since the September elections, the percentage of Likud voters who say they will come out to vote is equal to that of Blue&White voters. It is a dramatic change, reminiscent of the mobilization of Likud voters before the 2015 election.

The second factor: about 3 mandates have completed their migration from the Jewish center-left bloc to the rightwing-Haredim bloc. Most of them, it appears, are voters who supported Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu and Orly Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher in the April 2019 election.

Meanwhile, the percentage of undecided has decreased decidedly over the past week, from 10% to just 2.6%.

Faced with the prospect of losing mandates to Likud, Blue&White is compensating with about 2 mandates it siphoned from Labor-Gesher-Meretz, which drops to 9 mandates. At the same time, Labor-Gesher-Meretz appears to have siphoned the illusive 14th mandate which last week went the Joint Arab List.

Liberman is weakened, dropping from 7 to 6 mandates, which is probably where he will stay (he peaked at 10 this round). Most of his lost mandate went back returns to the rightwing bloc he has been shunning. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Yamina is probably not getting more than 7 seats – but not less that that, either. Shas rises to 9.

The survey predicts a slightly higher voter turnout in the Arab sector, 60% compared with 59% in September. If true, this would constitute a mostly psychological change. However, surprisingly, the Likud is getting stronger there, and stands to win about 7% of minority votes, the bulk of which come from the Druze, who switched their support from Blue&White to Likud, following Netanyahu’s attacks on former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, accusing him of racial slurs against the Druze.

The survey was conducted by Direct Polls LTD on February 26, in the evening, using a digital system among 2,983 respondents from the adult population in Israel (18+), including Arab society (371), the Haredi society (581) and Russians (305), each being weighted proportionately. The statistical sampling error is surprisingly low: +-2.1% with a 95% probability. Research Director: Shlomo Filber.

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