Differing Polls Reveal Gaps in Israeli Leadership

Polls released within 24 hours of each other reveal differing attitudes toward PM Netanyahu. Are Israelis fed up with a 'lack of options'?

Tova Dvorin,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash90

A set of differing polls reveals an odd lacuna in Israeli leadership Friday, with the public presented in the findings as apparently being unclear over its feelings for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. 

Forty-five percent of Israelis want to see a different Prime Minister elected next Knesset term, with just 29% approving of Netanyahu so far, a Channel 10 survey revealed Friday. Meanwhile 26% stated that they "do not know yet" if they'd like to see Netanyahu re-elected. 

But the results showing roughly half of Israeli wanting a change in leadership differ significantly from a similar poll conducted by the Knesset channel less than 24 hours ago - whereby 36% of Israelis approved of Netanyahu's term so far and 24% claimed he was the "best person" for the next prime minister.

In that category of "best person" for next prime minister, he had double the support of the next competitor, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) who had 12% calling him prime ministerial material.

Channel 10 stated in response to the gap that "the majority of Israelis do not want to see Netanyahu re-elected to office, but in the current situation they see no suitable alternative." 

The Knesset Channel poll on Thursday found that Bennett had just outpaced Netanyahu in approval, with a 38% rating, after Netanyahu's approval took a nosedive in Operation Protective Edge.

Moreover, the Channel 10 poll shows that, if Knesset elections were held today, Likud would still be the biggest force to be reckoned with, at 22 seats; Jewish Home, 17; Labor, 12 seats; Yesh Atid, 12 seats; and Moshe Kahlon, 11 seats. Yisrael Beytenu would gain just 9 seats, as would Meretz; Shas would gain just eight seats, and only five seats for the hareidi United Torah Judaism and communist Hadash. Tzipi Livni's Hatnua would gain just four Knesset seats. 

The gap could be attributed to differing audiences. Channel 10 leans to the left of the political spectrum, and whereas the Knesset Channel - the Israeli version of C-SPAN - is considered more of a neutral party.

But the question remains over how the Israeli public actually feels regarding Netanyahu.

As Channel 10 noted, approval for Netanyahu remains relatively high - despite a severe drop in approval ratings following a ceasefire agreement at the end of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. 

And political analysts are not the only parties to have noted the odd gap between Israelis' "ideal" candidate and their voting patterns; President Reuven Rivlin made a similar remark last month, claiming that Netanyahu's lack of competition is "bad for democracy." 

"We have a prime minister who could be a thousand times better if he knew that someone was challenging his place," he stated. "If I were to pay attention to polls, in which one of the candidates has around 40-percent support and the others only around 10 percent, that is very worrying."




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