A new poll released Monday showed the Likud continuing to weaken, alonsg with Labor – to the extent that the Bayit Yehudi party would tie for the second largest Knesset faction with Labor, if elections were held today.
The poll showed the joint Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu list receiving 32 seats in the Knesset. When the likely temporary union was announced several months ago, the joint list had been polling at over 40 seats, but since then the list has lost popularity at the expense of other parties, especially, it appears Bayit Yehudi. The number of seats the joint list can expect to receive in the elections is significantly lower than the number both parties now have separately; the Likud currently has 28 Knesset seats, and Yisrael Beiteinu has 15.
If the joint list only achieves 32 seats, that would mean a net loss of 11 seats between the two parties in the next Knesset – and at least some of them, analysts believe, would have migrated to Bayit Yehudi, led by Naftali Bennett. The latest poll shows Bennett's party achieving 16 seats. Meanwhile, Labor, which has also been slipping in the polls, would find itself with 16 seats as well.
Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid would score ten seats, as would Shas. Tzipi Livni's Hatnua would receive nine seats. If Livni succeeds in recruiting Lapid and Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich into her “blocking coalition” to make it harder for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form a new government, the three parties would be able to produce 35 mandates – more than the Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu, and technically enough to convince President Shimon Peres to give one of them the first opportunity to form a government, if all three parties can agree on one of their number for the job of Prime Minister.
Other “also rans” in the election include United Torah Jewry, which would get six seats; Meretz with five; and the Otzma Leyisrael list achieving three seats. In the new poll, conducted by the Panels Politics organization on behalf of the Mako website, Kadima, now led by Shaul Mofaz, does not make the cut.