Our updated Israel Poll Trends tracker, aggregated and configured by Prof. Camil Fuchs, puts a possible Likud-right-religious political bloc (and possible coalition) at 69 mandates, compared to a center-left bloc that is at 51 mandates out of the 120 available in the Knesset. This means a net change of +5 for the Likud-right-religious bloc from our update last week, and a widening of the gap in favor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition.
That Netanyahu will be able to form a relatively wide coalition, without having to take in any of the center-left parties, will give the PM much greater leverage in coalition negotiations. Amid recent talk of an imminent reemergence of former prime minister Ehud Olmert as a political rival to Netanyahu – a move that was put on hold only because of the Gaza operation – Netanyahu has to prepare for the possibility that Olmert will have enough traction to convince all parties left of Likud not to join a Netanyahu coalition.
In fact, several political analysts believe that Olmert’s probable strategy is to enter the fray in the hope that he can be an effective opposition leader, and make sure that a relatively narrow coalition headed by Netanyahu would not survive for very long. Olmert, by this theory, understands that his chances to get elected as prime minister aren’t great this time round. But he is hoping that forcing Netanyahu into forming a coalition with no “token members” from the center-left will shorten Netanyahu’s days as PM.
It is important to note that the change in our coalition graph is not due to changes in public opinion following the Gaza operation. The polls included in this new graph were all taken before the operation began, and for the public to alter its political preferences further we’ll have to see first how the operation ends.
Why is the Likud-right-religious bloc growing then? Go to our Poll Trends tracker to find out.