(Bloomberg) -- A poll conducted by Israeli research institutes signaled that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity has dropped since Hamas’s devastating attack last weekend, while that of Benny Gantz, a former general who’s now part of Israel’s “war cabinet,” has surged.
The survey, published by Maariv newspaper on Friday and carried out by Lazar Research in partnership with Panel4All, showed opposition parties would win a crushing majority against Netanyahu’s coalition if elections were held now.
Of the roughly 600 people surveyed, 48% said Gantz was their preferred prime minister, while 29% chose Netanyahu.
Gantz’s National Unity Party would gain the majority of seats in the Knesset, or parliament, according to the survey. It would get 41 seats, while Netanyahu’s Likud would come second with 19. Yesh Atid, led by former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, would get 15.
Just over a month ago, a poll indicated the NUP would win 29 seats and Likud 26.
The Hamas attack on Oct. 7 killed more than 1,300 Israelis, including children, unarmed civilians and soldiers. It’s shaken the nation to the core.
Israel has launched retaliatory strikes since then on Gaza, where Hamas is based, and is widely expected to carry out a ground attack on the territory. The strikes have killed more than 1,500 Palestinians.
Netanyahu announced a three-man war cabinet on Wednesday comprising him, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Gantz. There’ll be no major law changes or government decisions that don’t concern the war as long as the conflict period lasts.
Although Netanyahu’s position is unlikely to be challenged while Israel’s in war mode against Iran-backed Hamas, the latest poll underscores how some Israelis have shifted their position on him.
Netanyahu is Israel’s longest-serving leader and won re-election in late 2022. But he’s an increasingly divisive figure. His current coalition is the most right-wing in Israel’s history and its attempt to weaken the power of judges has triggered mass protests this year, hurting the shekel and causing tech investment in the country to plunge.
Some Israelis have likened his position to that of Golda Meir, who resigned as prime minister around six months after the 1973 Yom Kippur, which saw Syria and Egypt launch a surprise attack on Israel.
The Lazar Research-Panel4All has a 4% margin of error.
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