Latest polls indicate growing lead for Zionist Union


A series of polls published in the last 24 hours indicate the most significant shift in voting intentions among Israelis in several weeks, placing the Zionist Union 3-4 seats ahead of Likud.

Polls have consistently shown the two front-runners more or less neck and neck in recent weeks, or with a slight lead for Zionist Union. However, just a week before election day, several polls show falling support for Likud. A Knesset Channel survey on Tuesday predicted that the Zionist Union headed by Isaac Herzog would win 24 seats with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party on 21 Knesset seats. The Knesset Channel poll surveyed more than 1,000 people, a much more extensive sample than most polls. Meanwhile, a Channel Two poll, also of 1000 people, handed Zionist Union 25 seats to Likud’s 21. However, the same survey also revealed that 49 per cent of respondents still thought Netanyahu was the most suitable prime ministerial candidate, compared to 36 per cent in favour of Herzog. An Army Radio poll released on Wednesday morning also gives Zionist Union 24 seats with 21 for Likud.

The Knesset Channel poll indicated a tie for third place with both Jewish Home and the Joint Arab List on 13 seats each. The Joint Arab List however has ruled out joining any coalition government. The Channel Two poll handed Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party its best polling results so far, indicating that it would accrue 14 seats in third spot. Both polls suggested that Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party, which could feasibly join a government headed by either Netanyahu or Herzog, would win 8-9 seats. Meanwhile, the ultra-Orthodox vote appears fairly stable, with both polls showing Shas heading towards 7 seats, United Torah Judaism 6 seats, and Eli Yishai’s Yachad on 4 seats.

In the wake of yesterday’s polls, Likud reportedly sent a text message to its supporters, indicating real apprehension. The message apparently urged activists to get out the vote, declaring “We are in danger of really losing!” This morning’s headlines in the Israeli media also highlight concern within Likud. Israel Hayom declares “Likud warns of left-wing government,” while Maariv says that Likud is having “difficulty stopping erosion” of its vote.

It should be noted that actual results often differ markedly from pre-election polls in Israeli elections. Pollsters have a record of missing major shifts in support in the final days of the campaign, as large numbers of undecided voters make their decision at the last moment.