Poll: Yesh Atid leads Likud, Jewish Home passes Zionist Union

Yair Lapid bests PM in latest poll. But do the numbers add up to a Yesh Atid coalition government?

David Rosenberg ,

Yair Lapid, Binyamin Netanyahu
Yair Lapid, Binyamin Netanyahu
Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash 90

Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party has regained its lead against the ruling Likud party in the latest Knesset poll, just days after a survey showed the Likud leading by four mandates.

If elections were held today, the new Geocartography poll shows, Yesh Atid would edge out the Likud for first place, winning 25 mandates, an increase of 14 over the party’s performance in 2015.

The Likud, by comparison, would slip from 30 seats to 23.

But despite winning the most seats, Lapid would face an uphill battle in forming a viable ruling coalition given the makeup of the Knesset predicted by the poll.

According to the poll, the six factions which supported Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister after the 2015 election and which currently sit in the government (Yisrael Beytenu initially declined to join, but entered in 2016) would win 65 seats, a mere two-seat decline from their present 67.

Even if Lapid were able to secure the support not only of the left-wing Zionist Union and Meretz parties, but also of the centrist Kulanu, he would still need an additional 12 seats. With the Arab Joint List party unwilling to join a Zionist coalition - Ben Gurion himself said he considered the Arab lists out of bounds for a coalition - and Lapid’s statements ruling out their inclusion, a Lapid government would have to also include one of the two haredi parties as well as Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu.

Among the remaining parties in the Knesset, Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and the predominantly Arab Joint List tied for third with 13 mandates each.

The left-wing Zionist Union party, which includes both Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua faction, would fall from 24 seats to just 11.

The haredi parties would gain a net total of two seats, with Shas declining by one mandate to six, and the United Torah Judaism party gaining three seats, rising to nine.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party would decline from 10 seats to 7, while Yisrael Beytenu would rise from 6 to 7.

The far-left Meretz party would also gain one seat, rising from five to six mandates.