The Center: Yesh Atid, New Hope, Blue and White and Yisrael Beitenu Voters
The Center of the Israeli political map is fluid and is still developing a systematic and uniform ideological worldview. What do we know about its voters?
Prof. Tamar Hermann, a Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and a lecturer at the Open University, notes that, “The Center of the Israeli political map is fluid, and until recently (and perhaps even now) did not develop a systematic and uniform ideological worldview-neither within the parties nor among the various parties that define themselves as Center. So as a rule, in matters of security the parties are closer to the Right, and in issues such as religion and state- to the Left. On economics – on the right, and on and civil rights and the preservation of democracy – on the left. There is a difference between the two Center parties: Yesh Atid is less security-oriented than Blue and White, and more secular. In short, at this stage there isn’t a single ‘camp’ and it has not had a clear leadership, although in recent years it seems that something more distinct is beginning to take shape than before.”
We compared the voters of four parties – Yesh Atid, Blue and White, New Hope and Yisrael Beitenu.
The data presented below are an analysis of eight public opinion polls conducted in the past year by the Viterbi Family Center, and compiled together for the benefit of this analysis (Each of the data files includes between 750 and 1,000 respondents).
Ethnicity – There are significant differences between the voters of the three parties, and although for those familiar with Israeli politics- these differences are not surprising, still – seeing these differences in data- in percentages- adds both validity to "common knowledge" and arouses considerable interest: Half of Yesh Atid voters are Ashkenazim, while 45% of New Hope voters identify as Mizrahim and a third Ashkenazi. Blue and White is in the middle, with a tendency towards Yesh Atid (Ashkenazi majority).
Income – In this analysis we find a connection between ethnicity and income. The party with the highest percentage of Ashkenazim (Yesh Atid) is also characterized by the highest rate of voters with above-average income (46%) and by contrast – the party with the highest rate of Mizrahi voters (New Hope) – also has the highest rate of voters with below-average incomes.
Political camp – New Hope voters define themselves as belonging to the Right camp (68% Right, only 3% Left and the rest- Center). On the other hand - Blue and White and Yesh Atid voters share a very similar self-definition - about half define themselves as Center, and another 20%, as Left. Only 23% of Yesh Atid voters and 31% of Blue and White voters define themselves as belonging to the right-wing camp.
Religious observance (self-definition) – Yesh Atid and Blue and White are mainly secular parties (81% of Yesh Atid voters, and 62% of Blue and White voters define themselves as secular), while only half of New Hope voters define themselves as secular. A high percentage of New Hope voters (45%) define themselves as traditional, compared with a third of Blue and White and 17% of Yesh Atid who define themselves as traditional.
Gender – There is no significant difference between the three parties, although according to the data, the percentage of men among Blue and White voters, is a slightly higher than in New Hope and Yesh Atid.
Age – Voters of Yesh Atid and Blue and White are slightly older than New Hope voters. The profile of Yesh Atid voters is more similar to that of the left-wing Labor and Meretz parties, with their voters being older.
An interesting point to focus on is the places where there is an almost complete identity between the two center parties, and when exactly is there a difference and Blue-and-White is "closer" to New Hope. Also interesting to note that, the findings reveal that the profile of New Hope voters is very similar to that of Likud voters, and it will be interesting to see what happens to these voters the day after Netanyahu.
As for Yisrael Beitenu - it is a party with a much more right-wing orientation than the other center parties (Blue and White and Yesh Atid), and it is relatively similar to New Hope in its tendency to the right side of the political map. Hence the question of whether it will succeed in increasing its power in the upcoming elections, whether some "New Hope" voters, who chose to be in the "just not Netanyahu" bloc but express more right-wing positions than a Blue and White and Yesh Atid, and voted in the past election for Gideon Saar and New Hope - and will now vote for Avigdor Lieberman.
The data also show that the proportion of men who voted for Yisrael Beiteinu is higher than the proportion of women, and that its voters are relatively older.
And a word about ethnicity: We should keep in mind that the data is based on the respondent's self-definition, and it may well be that some of those who define themselves as Ashkenazi or Mizrahi are in fact of "mixed" origins.