One of the last polls that will be released before next week's Knesset elections has Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi party edging out Labor for the title of second largest Knesset faction. The poll, by the Geocartigraphia organization, shows Bayit Yehudi garnering 17.5 seats in next Tuesday's elections. That is the highest number polled for the party so far this election season, said Professor Avi Degani, head of the organization and a veteran Israeli pollster, and could reflect the decisions being made by the heretofore undecided voters.
Although the poll breaks down the numbers to assign percentages of the vote, translating that percentage into the number of seats each party gets, the proportional number of votes on Election Day will determine the fate of “extra” votes that do not amount to a full Knesset seat. The extra votes are transferred to other parties based on predetermined agreements, in order to enable the one closer to the total number needed to garner enough votes for another seat. The Bayit Yehudit has such an agreement with Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu, so ironically, in light of the Likud campaign targeting the party, Likud voters could end up giving Bayit Yehudi an additional mandate.
Meanwhile, the Geocartigraphia poll was far less kind to Likud and Labor. The join Likud/Yisrael Beteinu list polls at only 32 seats, a significant loss from the recent 34 to 35 the party had been polling at. Labor shows a loss of support also, with 16 mandates expected, according to the poll.
Following Labor for fourth largest faction are both Yesh Atid and Shas. According to Degani, the Yair Lapid-led party would receive 10.5 Knesset seats, while the Sephardic Hareidi party would get 10. Meretz, UTJ, and Hatnua are polling at six seats each. Arab parties Ra'am-Ta'al and Balad would get 8 between them, while Hadash, the Israeli Communist party, would get 4. Otzma Yisrael and Kadima would each get two seats, the poll said.
A poll published in Ma'ariv Thursday showed the Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu joint list likely to get 37 seats. Support for Bayit Yehudi remains stable, and is set to receive 14 seats. Shas has strengthened since the last polls as well, and is back up to 12 seats. United Torah Judaism is polling at 6 seats, while Otzma Leyisrael is slated to get 2 seats. Taken together, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could easily form a government of as many as 72 seats with the right and and right of center parties. The poll was conducted by the Ma'agar Hamohot polling organization.
A poll on Israel Radio's Reshet Bet on Thursday, also by Ma'agar Mohot, showed nearly identical results, with the right losing one seat to the left center coalition for a total of 71 seats.
The final polls of the political season will be printed in Friday's newspapers, after which, according to Israeli election laws, polls can no longer be published.