In a sharp loss of support, only 27% of Israelis believe that longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the right person to run the government, according to the results of a new poll released Friday.
The poll done by the Lazar Research Institute for Israeli daily Maariv found that 49% of Israelis, or about half, believe that Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity Party, is the best figure to lead the country’s government.
The poll involved a random sample of 522 Israeli adults, with a margin of error of 4.3%.
The poll showed a steep collapse in the popularity of the Likud party led by Netanyahu, with a significant rise for the National Unity party.
The poll comes in the wake of Hamas’ surprise attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1,000 Israelis and taking hundreds hostage, as well as months of protests over Netanyahu’s controversial judicial overhaul plan.
Analyses since the attack accused Netanyahu of neglecting the nation’s security, with him facing a backlash after publicly refusing to take any responsibility for the devastating attack.
The poll said that if elections were held today, the National Unity Party would win 36 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, three times the 12 seats it holds now.
The Likud Party is likely to win only 19 seats, compared to the 32 seats it now has, the poll added.
*Writing by Ziad Aslan in Ankara