Poll: More Israelis prefer Gantz than Netanyahu as PM in head-to-head matchup

More Israelis would prefer National Unity party leader Benny Gantz as prime minister than Benjamin Netanyahu if he were to face him in a head-to-head match, according to a televised poll released Friday.

When asked who would be best suited to be the prime minister, 38 percent of respondents to the Channel 12 survey said Gantz and 31% said Netanyahu. Another quarter said neither and the remaining 6% said they did not know.

The poll also asked who Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid are best suited to be prime minister, with each receiving 32% of respondents. Twenty-nine percent said neither and 7% said they were unsure.

The survey came at a politically tumultuous weekend that began when Netanyahu announced the dismissal of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after the latter publicly asked the government to halt his proposed reform of the judiciary.

The move further fueled protesters who took to the streets at least twice a week for nearly three months and prompted a declaration of a general strike, which was called off after Netanyahu said he would suspend the judicial legislation. temporarily paused to allow negotiations with the opposition. with the aim of gaining a broad consensus on any changes.

Despite saying he would terminate Gallant, Netanyahu has yet to send a formal letter of dismissal, leaving the defense minister in limbo while still on the job.

A Channel 12 poll asked if Netanyahu should fire Gallant, with over 67% saying he shouldn’t and 17% saying he should. When narrowed down to supporters of Netanyahu’s religious-right bloc, a majority – 57% – said no and 23% said yes.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant arrives at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 27, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In addition, respondents were surveyed whether they believe that Netanyahu is open to a real dialogue on the judicial shakeup plans, as he has repeatedly insisted. Sixty-one percent said they didn’t believe it and 29% thought it was true.

Earlier this week, the Kan network and public broadcaster released a poll that found the ruling coalition would lose its majority if elections were held today. Gantz’s party was the big winner in both surveys, which predicted that opposition factions made up largely of the previous government would be able to form a coalition.

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