With 40 days to go before the Knesset elections, a new Israel Hayom poll shows that the right-wing bloc in the Knesset is likely to have an easy task of maintaining its governing coalition after the Jan. 22 elections.
The poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, was conducted by New Wave Research and was based on a representative sample of 620 respondents aged 18 or older. In keeping with the Right's overall strength over the past several years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beytenu list will likely win the most seats in the elections, 39, and the overall right-haredi bloc is expected to get 66 seats to the Center-Left's 54.
Together with the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas and the New National Religious Party, which are projected 12 and 10 seats respectively, Netanyahu would be able to form a 61-seat coalition comprising a majority of the Knesset's 120 members.
According to the poll, the Labor Party would end up a distant second, with only 19 seats. The center-left parties Yesh Atid and Hatnuah (the former is led by journalist Yair Lapid and the latter by former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni), are each expected to get nine seats in the 19th Knesset. Even if Labor and those two parties try to form a so-called "barrier bloc" with the Arab parties and Meretz's four seats to deny the Right a Knesset majority, they would fall short of the necessary 61 members.
Kadima, which won the most seats in the past elections, is likely to be wiped off the political landscape since it is unlikely to cross the necessary threshold for representation in the Knesset (a party must win at least three seats to enter the parliament). The poll also shows that Livni did not get a noticeable bounce by having the Labor Party's former chairman Amir Peretz defect to her party. United Torah Judaism maintains its strength and is likely to get five seats.
In Israel, the Knesset member who has the best chance at forming a government usually gets the nod from the president and has several weeks to present a governing coalition. Usually the head of the party with the largest Knesset representation is tasked with this job. After the most recent elections, however, President Shimon Peres tasked Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the government despite the fact that the Likud finished in second place, owing to the overall strength of the Right and its allies in the Knesset.