Daily Israel Report

After Gaza Operation, How Are the Parties Polling?

Poll shows 'right-wing' bloc would increase from 61 to 69 seats if elections were held today; Arab parties also predicted to strengthen.
By Ari Soffer and Yedidya Ben-Or
First Publish: 8/28/2014, 11:02 AM

Naftali Bennett and PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Naftali Bennett and PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

One day after the end of Operation Protective Edge the Jewish Home party continues to ride high in the polls, as Prime Minister Netanyahu's approval ratings continue to nosedive.

The Haaretz/Dialogue poll also shows the traditional "right-wing" bloc of Likud, Yisrael Beytenu, Jewish Home, and hareidi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, rising from 61 in the current Knesset to 69.

According to the poll - the results of which were published Thursday morning - if elections took place now the Jewish Home would be the Knesset's second-largest party, up from the 12 seats it currently holds to 17.

That result is a slight increase from a previous poll which showed the party, led by Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, gaining 16 seats. It is consistent with several surveys predicting the nationalist party's steady rise in popularity, drawing strength from the disillusionment of the right-wing flank of the Likud party, among other factors.

Interestingly, however, the survey also showed a slight increase in support for Netanyahu's Likud party, despite the deep unpopularity of his decision to accept a ceasefire with Hamas. In a previous poll, Likud was predicted to receive 25 seats, and the latest figures show that edging up to 26. 

The ruling party currently has just 19 MKs in the Knesset, making it the smallest ever faction to lead an Israeli government coalition. In January 2013's elections it ran on a joint list with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu party, but the "Likud-Beytenu" list received a disappointing 31 seats, and the arrangement fell apart after Liberman announced the parties were officially splitting in July.

The latest poll suggests Liberman's gamble may not be paying off quite as he had envisioned, however. His party currently holds 12 seats, and was predicted 14 in the last poll - but that number is now down to 11.

Left-wing parties would also see a dip in their fortunes. The Labour party, which previous polls showed holding steady at 15 seats, was predicted to drop one to 14, while the far-left Meretz party (currently with 6) fell from a previously-predicted 10 seats to 7.

The Yesh Atid party of Finance Minister Yair Lapid - currently the joint-largest with Likud at 19 - continues its downward trend from 13 to 12, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party is predicted to drop perilously close to the Knesset threshold, shedding two of its 6 seats.

Among the hareidi parties, United Torah Judaism edged up from 7 predicted seats (the same as it has now) to 8. The Shas party, which is consistently predicted to lose some of its 11 seats after the passing of its iconic spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, remains static at 7 predicted seats 

According to the poll the Knesset's Arab bloc would grow to 14 seats if elections were held today.

The communist Hadash party would grow from 4 seats to 6, and the Arab nationalist Balad party would also gain 4 seats, up one from its current standing and a full four seats from its abysmal showing of zero seats in previous polls. The Islamist United Arab List would also receive 4 seats, maintaining its current size but down from the 5 seats it was previously predicted to receive.