Bennett and Netanyahu
Bennett and Netanyahuצילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu is now backed by an absolute majority of Israeli adults, according to a new poll, signaling a significant increase in support.

The poll, conducted by Ma’agar Mohot and published by Israel Hayom Tuesday morning, found that 55% of Israelis say Netanyahu is the most qualified candidate to serve as prime minister, up from 34% in the previous Ma’agar Mohot poll, released in mid-January.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid came in second with 21%, followed by incumbent Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with 14%, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz with 10%.

Respondents gave the current government poor marks on its handling of the economy, the Iranian nuclear threat, foreign policy, and the coronavirus. Only on security issues does the government have a net positive rating, with 38% of respondents calling its handling good, compared to 33% who said it was poor.

On economic issues, 55% of respondents called the government’s handling poor, compared to 20% who said it was good; regarding the coronavirus, 39% gave the government negative marks compared to 34% who gave it positive marks; on foreign policy 41% viewed the government’s performance negatively, compared to 33% who view it positively.

Israelis were nearly equally divided on the question of whether the current government will last for its full term, with 41% predicting it will, compared to 36% who believe it will not. Just 35% of respondents believe the rotational agreement between Bennett and Lapid will be upheld.

If new elections were held today, the poll found that the Likud would remain by far the largest faction with 34 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 17, Blue and White with 10, the Religious Zionist Party with 9, Labor with 8, Shas and United Torah Judaism with 8 each, the Joint Arab List and Yamina with 6 each, Yisrael Beytenu with 5, the United Arab List and Meretz with 4 each, while the New Hope party failed to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.

Broken down by bloc, the parties aligned with the Likud would receive a total of 59 seats, up one from the previous Ma'agar Mohot poll, release in January, while the left-wing - Arab bloc fell from 51 seats to 50. The right-of-center parties not aligned with the Likud received 11 seats.

Including Yamina, which initially considered backing Netanyahu's bid to form a new government after last year's election, the right-wing bloc received a total of 65 seats in the current poll.