Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett צילום: חיים צח / לע"מ

Six months after the formation of the new Bennett-Lapid government, a new poll shows a plurality of Israelis prefer former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm.

On Sunday night, Channel 12 published a new poll conducted by the Midgam polling agency which found that 43% of Israelis would rather have a government headed by Netanyahu than the current ‘change’ coalition, compared to 36% who favor the current government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

Nearly half (45%) of respondents preferred Netanyahu as premier over Bennett, with just 25% favoring Bennett.

In a head-to-head matchup against Lapid, Netanyahu led by an even wider margin, with 48% of respondents compared to 24% who prefer Lapid.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they hope Lapid, who currently serves as Foreign Minister, does not rotate in as prime minister, compared to 40% who want him to rotate in as premier. A quarter of voters who backed parties now in the coalition do not wish to see Lapid serve as premier.

Prime Minister Bennett’s job approval rating stands at 44%, compared to 47% disapproval; slightly higher than Lapid’s net negative five-point rating, 42% to 47%. Defense Minister Benny Gantz had a net positive job approval rating, with 55% total approval and 33% disapproval.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton has a neutral net job approval rating of 41% to a 41% disapproval rating, while Ayelet Shaked has a net negative rating, with a job approval rating of 33% compared to 51% disapproval.

Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman had the worst net job approval rating of 35% positive to 56% negative.

Few Israelis still see the coronavirus pandemic as the most important issue for the country, with 39% saying the cost of living is the top concern, followed by 34% who chose violence and crime, 12% who said Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and just 6% who say COVID is the top issue.

A total of 509 respondents participated in the poll, which was conducted on Sunday over the internet and via telephone.

The poll also found that if new elections were held today, the Likud would remain the largest party in the Knesset, rising to 34 seats, the same number it received in the previous Midgam poll, released in mid-October.

Yesh Atid came in second with 19 seats, followed by Shas with nine, Blue and White with nine, the United Torah Judaism party with seven, Labor with seven, and the Religious Zionist Party list also with seven.

The Joint Arab List is projected to receive six seats, compared to five for the United Arab List.

Yamina fell to six seats in the poll, while the New Hope party failed to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.

Yisrael Beytenu received six seats, up from five in the previous poll but down from its current seven, while Meretz held steady at five seats – one less than it currently holds.

The Netanyahu bloc received a total of 57 seats, compared to 51 seats for the Left-Arab bloc, and 12 seats for right-of-center parties not in the Netanyahu bloc.

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