The poll released Sunday by Ynet's sister newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth shows that although Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White party still continues to lead with 33 seats, the prime minister's Likud party has significantly narrowed the gap, now trailing only by 4 Knesset seats. The numbers represent somewhat of a blow for Gantz, the former military chief, whose party was leading by six Knesset seats only two weeks ago.
In a head to head battle between Netanyahu and Gantz, the prime minister leads with 38% of voters as opposed to Gantz’s 31%, with another 31% remaining undecided. The previous poll saw Netanyahu lead with 40% over Gantz’s 34%.
The majority of the respondents, 53%, said they believe Netanyahu will be the one to form the next government, compared to 27% who believe that Gantz will form it.
Regarding the disqualification of candidates, the public appears to be split, with 54% agreeing with the decision of the Central Elections Committee to invalidate the candidacy of Ra'am-Balad—a joint electoral list of two Arab parties—and 18% opposing it.
The committee voted in favor of a petition filed by the Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Otzma Yehudit parties, stating that most members of the Arab-Israeli party support terror and violent resistance against Israel.
When it comes to the candidacy of Otzma Yehudit's Michael Ben-Ari—former supporter of supremacist rabbi Meir Kahanist—some 38% believe he should have been disqualified, with 28% opposing it. Ben-Ari’s candidacy was not invalidated by the committee despite the recommendation of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who claimed the former is unfit to run in the elections due to his inflammatory and racist rhetoric.
The poll was conducted on March 7-8, with 510 respondents over 18 who were representative of a cross-section of Israeli society. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.