In new poll, Israeli voters view Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as best fit to lead

According to the latest public opinion poll, PM Bennett comes in 2nd, while chairman of United Arab List, Mansour Abbas, is third.

Nitzan Kedar ,

יאיר לפיד
יאיר לפיד
צילום: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

A poll published Sunday by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research shows that Israelis are divided on whether the Bennett/Lapid government will be able to last a full year.

According to the survey, a small majority of Israel's residents believe the new government is up to the task of defeating the newest outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to popularity rating, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Yair Lapid, received the highest numbers, with 26% of Israeli voters placing their support behind Lapid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett receiving 19% of the vote, and United Arab List (Ra'am) chairman, Mansour Abbas coming in with 11%.

Supporters of the six left-wing and center-left parties in the current Knesset, (Labor, Meretz, Blue and White, Yesh Atid, the Joint Arab List, and Ra'am) said they viewed Lapid as the strongest figure in the government, Abbas was seen as the binding link by supporters of the Likud, Religious Zionism, Shas, and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) parties, Bennett among Yamina and New Hope voters, and Liberman among Yisrael Beytenu faithful.

A total of 46% of the Israeli public said they expected the new government to last out at least a year, compared to 45% who thought the chances of it holding firm were slim. While a majority of coalition party voters voiced optimism the unity government would last over a year's time, Yamina and Ra'am supporters thought otherwise.

The poll also addressed the recent rise in COVID-19 infections. While just 28% of the public said they were afraid of contracting the virus last March (the lowest number since the outbreak of the plague), that figure has risen to 42% today. The lowest level of concern can be seen among the haredi public (15%), with no significant difference in opinion between Israeli Jews and local Arabs.

A small majority (54%) of Israelis said they trusted the new government to successfully deal with a potentially-serious virus surge in the foreseeable future.

The poll also indicates that the majority of coalition party voters trust the government compared to a small part of opposition supporters, with the Joint Arab List being an exception to the general rule, and most of its supporters trusting the new government.

The survey also indicates that the percentage of Israelis who believe American President Biden's promise to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons during his term in office cannot be taken at face value (50.5%), exceeding the percentage of those who believe Biden's pledge to Israel can be trusted (39%). A large gap between Israeli Jews on different ends of the political spectrum can be seen with respect to Biden's Middle East policies, with a large majority of supporters on the Left (61%) voicing confidence in Biden's assurance to Israel, about half (52%) among centrist voters, compared to a small minority (24.5%) among right-wingers.

The public is also divided on the question of how Israel's international status will be affected by the administration change. 41.5% believe Israel's standing in the global community will improve, while 37% say it will suffer a turn for the worst. 60% of those who supported the current coalition believe the situation has already improved, while 63% of those who voted for the opposition say it has deteriorated since Bennett took office.