By Ari Soffer
The latest Panels Politics polls carried out on behalf of the Knesset Channel reveals no significant changes in the standing of the parties running for the 20th Knesset, but suggests a dramatic victory for the right were the two largest nationalist parties to run on a joint list.
As in the last poll, the first of two Panels Politics polls shows the joint Labor-Hatnua list as holding a slim lead with 24 seats, followed closely by Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party at 23.
Once again the Jewish Home party finds itself in third place, with 16 seats.
The Yesh Atid party is a distant joint-fourth, alongside a combined Arab list. Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu party is polling in fifth place with 8 seats, having lost ground in the center to Yesh Atid.
In sixth place is the Ashkenazic-chareidi United Torah Judaism Party (UTJ), polling steadily at 7 seats, followed by the far-left Meretz party with 6.
This latest poll shows both Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party and the Sephardic-chareidi Shas party hovering dangerously close to the threshold with 5 seats apiece, followed by Eli Yishai’s Yachad-Ha’am Itanu party, which would only just scrape through with 4. That result is an improvement for Yishai, who after an initially encouraging showing immediately following his new party’s founding, saw several more recent polls predicting it to narrowly miss the Knesset threshold.
More interesting still are the results of a second Panels Politics survey, which considered the results of an election if the Likud and Jewish Home ran on a united list.
In such an eventuality, the joint list would receive a whopping 40 seats, with Labor-Hatnua languishing far behind in second place—still with 24 seats. That result echoes a recent Channel 10 poll which also considered a joint Likud-Jewish Home list.
Tellingly, it appears that such a joint list would take votes from the centrist Kulanu party and Shas, both of which lose ground compared to the first poll. And intriguingly, in such an eventuality, Eli Yishai’s Ha’am Itanu would actually gain votes—most likely from disaffected Jewish Home party voters—and increase its showing by two seats to 6.
The latter poll in particular would see a comfortable majority for the “traditional” right-wing-chareidi bloc, although even the results of the first poll—which would see Labor emerge as the largest party—suggest a right-center coalition would not be out of the question either.
Despite the results and calls from some within the Likud party to unite, senior Jewish Home party officials have maintained that a joint list is currently not an option for them. (Arutz Sheva)