A poll published Saturday showed the ruling Likud party gaining strength despite the graft allegations surrounding its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and well placed to win elections should they be held today.
The survey, which was aired by Hadashot TV news, said Likud would win 28 seats if elections were held today. While down from its current 30, the poll result was the best yet for the right-wing party since police recommended earlier this month Netanyahu be indicted in a pair of corruption investigations. Polls over the last two weeks have shown it on 27 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
In the last few days, there have been a series of reported developments in another criminal case linked to Netanyahu; Saturday’s poll suggested these have not dented Netanyahu or his party’s popularity.
Netanyahu has reportedly indicated to his various coalition partners in recent days that he might call early elections if they seek to oust him amid the corruption probes, apparently assessing that they are less ready for a return to the ballot boxes than his Likud. Elections are not due until late next year.
Trailing Likud in the Saturday poll was Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party, which would win 24 seats, up from its current 11.
Yesh Atid’s showing in the poll, as well that of other parties, was similar to other recent surveys, with the Zionist Union falling from 24 seats to 15; the Joint (Arab) List dropping one seat to 12; the Jewish Home increasing from 8 to 9 seats; Kulanu dropping from 10 to 7 seats; and Meretz adding one seat to win 6 from its current 5.
Meanwhile, United Torah Judaism would add one seat to gain 7; Shas would drop to 5 from 7 seats; and Yisrael Beytenu would gain two seats, giving it 7.
The poll, which was conducted for the network by the Midgam Research Institute, was made up of 538 respondents and included a 4.3 percent margin of error.