Half of Israelis intend to vote for the same party they voted for in the previous elections (2021) and almost one-quarter of respondents say that they have not yet decided which party to vote for in the November 1st election
* Regarding both the future of Israel’s national security and the future of democratic rule in Israel, this month saw an increase in the share of respondents who are optimistic. A majority are optimistic about the future of national security, while the trend of rising optimism since May 2022 regarding the future of democratic rule has continued.
* Half of the public intend to vote for the same party they voted for at the previous elections, while one-quarter have not yet decided which party to vote for.
* Among voters for parties currently in the opposition, the share of those who intend to vote for the same party or for another party in the same bloc is much larger than the equivalent share among voters for parties currently in the coalition.
* The majority of Jewish respondents intend to vote for the same party or the same bloc as their family or friends. The situation is different among Arab voters, of whom a much greater share reported that they do not know how their family members or friends vote than was the case in the Jewish sample.
* Again this month, parties’ economic agendas were ranked as the most influential factor in respondents’ decision as to which party to vote for, despite the fact that this time we also included the issue of party loyalty in our list of factors to choose from. The identity of the party leader was again only ranked in second place, with the exception of Likud voters, for whom the identity of the party’s leader was cited as the most important factor in voting for it.
* Once again, we found that a majority of respondents disagree with the statement that “it doesn’t matter who you vote for, it doesn’t change the situation.”
* Respondents were divided on the question of whether a party having senior ex-officers from the IDF at the top of its candidate list influences their decision on whether or not to vote for it.
* More than one-half of Arab respondents support a unification of the Joint List and Ra’am ahead of the upcoming elections.
* The education system was awarded a grade of “fail” by most of the public, as was the conduct of the minister of education in the dispute with the Teachers’ Union.
* A large majority think that improving teachers’ salaries will improve the quality of teaching staff.
* A smaller majority support shifting the education system to a five-day week.
* Currently, a majority of the public oppose allowing the opening of private schools.
* There is majority support for making any agreement signed with the teachers conditional on a long-term commitment to refraining from disputes.
* Among voters for coalition parties, the largest share consider power issues and political considerations at the Teachers’ Union (headed by Yaffa Ben David) to be responsible for fact that no agreements have been reached. By contrast, the largest share of voters for opposition parties think that the responsibility can be attributed to similar considerations on the part of the finance minister and the Ministry of Finance.
The National Mood
This month saw a slight increase of 6 percentage points relative to last month in the share of respondents who are optimistic about the future of Israel’s national security, who now constitute a small majority (52%). In fact, since the low point of February 2022, when just 29% were optimistic, there seem to be signs of a rehabilitation of optimism about the future regarding this issue, with a return to the majority that has characterized responses to this question in most of the surveys conducted since we began asking this question in April 2019. Likewise, the share of those optimistic about the future of democratic in rule in Israel has continued the rise that began in May 2022 (with an aggregate increase of 7 percentage points since then), though this proportion remains smaller than that in the case of national security, at just 39%.
Optimistic about the future of democratic rule in Israel and about the future of national security, April 2019–August 2022 (total sample; %)
As we did last month, we once again compared interviewees’ responses about how they voted in the 2021 Knesset elections with their declared voting intentions at the upcoming elections. The findings indicate that, despite a month that saw political upheavals (primaries held by five parties; the entry into politics of former IDF Chief of Staff Gady Eisenkot; the formation of the Zionist Spirit party, based on Yamina; the split in the Religious Zionism party; and more) and a confrontation with Islamic Jihad in Gaza, voting intentions have barely changed in August. One-half of respondents still say that they will vote for the same party they voted for at the last elections; one-quarter still remain undecided; and the percentage of those intending to switch blocs remains low (6%).
Which party do you intend to vote for at the upcoming Knesset elections? (total sample, July and August 2022; %)
Similarly, a breakdown of Jewish respondents by whether they voted for coalition or opposition parties at the last election yielded a similar result to July’s survey: Of voters for opposition parties, a large majority (78%) intend to vote for the same party again at the upcoming elections, compared with just 43.5% of coalition party voters. The share of coalition party voters who have not yet decided which party to vote for at the upcoming elections is double that of opposition party voters (25% and 12%, respectively). In terms of switching blocs, 10% of voters for coalition parties said they will vote for a party currently in the opposition (most of them having voted Yamina last time), while only 4% of voters for opposition parties intend to vote for a party currently in the coalition.
Which party do you intend to vote for at the upcoming Knesset elections? (Jews, by vote at the previous elections for a party currently in the coalition or in the opposition; %)
Breaking down the voting intentions of Arab respondents by voting pattern at the last elections reveals that the majority of those who voted for the Joint List at the last elections reported that they will vote for it again this time around (61%). By contrast, only a minority of Ra’am voters, albeit a large minority (45%), said that they will vote the same way at the upcoming elections. Furthermore, 15% of those who voted Ra’am last time stated that they will vote for the Joint List at the upcoming elections, but we found almost no swing (just 1%) in the other direction (from the Joint List to Ra’am). A large majority of Arab interviewees who voted for non-Arab Zionist parties at the last elections said that they will vote the same way again this time (75%), but it should be remembered that less than 20% of Arabs voted for such parties.Arik Rudnitzky, The Arab Vote in the Elections for the 24th Knesset (March 2021), Israel Democracy Institute, April 27, https://en.idi.org.il/articles/34420.
Which party do you intend to vote for at the upcoming Knesset elections? (Arabs, by voting pattern at the previous elections; %)Based on the July and August 2022 Israeli Voice surveys (N=302)
Stability is also evident in the breakdown of responses according to parties. Among voters for United Torah Judaism, Likud, Religious Zionism, Meretz, Yisrael Beytenu, and Labor at the last elections, the share of repeat voters has risen slightly from last month (by between 3 and 5 percentage points). By contrast, among voters for Yesh Atid, Shas, Ra’am, National Unity, and Zionist Spirit, there has been a slight decline in the proportion of repeat voters relative to last month.
The relation between individual voting and family/friend voting
We wanted to know the extent to which voters conform to their environment (family members and friends) with their voting choices. We found a majority of Jewish respondents (61%) who said that they will vote in a similar way to their family or friends at the upcoming elections: 38% intend to vote for the same party, and a further 23% will vote for a different party within the same political camp. Among Arab interviewees, around one-third (32%) reported that they will vote for the same party as their family or friends, while 11% plan to vote for a different party. A high proportion of Arab respondents (30%) said that they do not know who their family or friends vote for, and more than one-quarter (26%) stated that they do not intend to vote.
Analyzing the Jewish sample by political orientation, almost half of those on the Right (45%) said they will vote for the same party as their friends and family, and a further 22% report that they will vote for a different party in the same political camp. The picture is similar on the Left, though here the proportion of those who intend to vote for a different party in the same camp (36%) is higher than the proportion of those planning to vote for the same party (26.5%). In the Center, just under half the respondents (47%) said they will vote for the same party as their family and friends, or for a different party in the same camp. But here, a much larger share of interviewees than on the Right or the Left (36%) responded that they do not yet know who they will vote for.
At the upcoming elections, do you intend to vote for the same party as most of your family and friends? (Jews, by political orientation; %)
What influences the decision on which party to vote for?
Again this month, we looked at the factors that most strongly influence respondents’ decisions on which party to vote for, though we added another option to the list presented last month—the habit of voting for a particular party in the past. We found that this addition barely changed anything; according to the respondents, what will most influence their voting choice is, first and foremost, the party’s platform on the economy and the high cost of living (31%). Less influential are the identity of the party leader (17.5%), the party’s platform on issues of religion and state (15%), the party’s platform on foreign policy and security (12%), and party loyalty or voting habit (11%). The least important issue to voters when choosing which party to vote for is the party’s platform on the climate crisis (0.5%).
Which of the following factors will most strongly influence your decision on which party to vote for at the upcoming elections? (total sample; %)
The issue of the high cost of living is rated most important by Jewish respondents in all three political camps (Right, 30%; Center, 33%; Left, 29%), as well as by Arab respondents (33%). However, we found differences among the Jewish sample between the religious groupings: While the secular group and the two traditional groups rank the party’s platform on the economy and the high cost of living highest (secular, 34%; traditional non-religious, 33%; traditional religious, 34%), first place among the national religious and the Haredim goes to issues of religion and state (Haredim, 42%; national religious, 27%).
A breakdown by voting pattern at the last elections reveals that Likud voters are the only group among whom the identity of the party leader is considered the factor that most strongly influences the decision of which party to vote for (30.5%).
Does it matter who you vote for?
We found that a large majority – two-thirds – of the public disagree with the statement: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it doesn’t change the situation.” That is, most Israelis think that voting for a particular party has practical consequences. In fact, the level of disagreement with this statement this month is the highest we have found since 2015.
Disagree with the statement: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it doesn’t change the situation” (total sample; %)
An analysis by nationality revealed large differences: While a large majority of Jews (71%) disagreed with the statement, the equivalent share of Arab respondents was less than half (46%).
Various breakdowns of the Jewish sample found a number of differences: Traditional Jews expressed the lowest levels of opposition to the idea that it makes no difference who you vote for (traditional religious, 67%; traditional non-religious, 68%), while the share of Haredim who disagreed was much larger (82%). A breakdown by political orientation found that disagreement with this notion on the Left (77%) is greater than in the Center (71%) and on the Right (71.5%). Similarly, the higher the respondent’s income, the greater their disagreement with the statement (below-average income, 66%; average income, 73.5%; above-average income, 77%). Further, we found that while around two-thirds of the youngest age cohort (18–24) reject the idea that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the equivalent share in the 45+ age groups is three-quarters.
It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it doesn’t change the situation (agree; %)
|Political orientation (Jews)||Left||77|
|Income (Jews)||Below average||66|
The importance of IDF officers in party candidate lists
We asked the Jewish interviewees whether it is important to them that the party they intend to vote for has senior former IDF officers toward the top of its list of candidates. The sample was divided on this question: 47% said that it is important to them, and 50% that it is not.
A breakdown of responses by political orientation finds differences between the groups, as might be expected: Just over half of those on the Right (53%) and almost half of those in the Center (49%) consider it important that people who served as senior IDF officers are at the head of the candidate list for the party they intend to vote for. On the other hand, only 20% of those on the Left said that this is important to them. Further, we found that this issue is more important to Jewish women than to Jewish men (51%, versus 42%, respectively).
Agree that it is important that the party they intend to vote for has people who served as senior officers in the IDF toward the top of its list of candidates (Jews, by political orientation; %)
Should the Arab parties unite?
More than half the Arab interviewees (54%) support a unification of the Joint List and Ra’am ahead of the upcoming elections, compared with around one-quarter (27.5%) who oppose it.
A breakdown by voting pattern in the March 2021 elections reveals that the majority of voters for the Joint List (69%) and Ra’am (64%) are in favor of such a union, compared with just under half (49%) of Arabs who voted for non-Arab Zionist parties, and only one-quarter (25%) of those who did not vote at all at the last elections.
The Education System Ahead of the New School Year
Ahead of the scheduled opening of the new school year (on September 1), and against the backdrop of the work dispute with the teachers’ organizations, we examined the views of the public regarding certain aspects of the education system.
Grades for the education system and the minister of education
We asked the respondents to grade the education system on a scale from 1 = very poor to 10 = excellent. The average grade given across the total sample was 4.62, which translates to “not good enough,” or even “fail.” An interesting finding is that the average grade awarded by Arab interviewees was higher than that from Jewish interviewees, despite the fact that the Arab education system receives fewer resources, and the educational achievements of its students are lower on average.
Average grades awarded the education system on a scale from 1 = very poor to 10 = excellent (total sample, Jews, and Arabs; %)
Breaking down the samples reveals only very small differences between sub-groups, with the exception of the breakdown of Jews by religiosity, which found that the average grade given by Haredi respondents to the education system is considerably lower than that given by the other groups:
|Haredim||National religious||Traditional religious||Traditional non-religious||Secular|
|Average grade awarded to the education system||3.11||4.56||4.95||4.57||4.68|
We asked a similar question about the minister of education, Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton: “On a scale from 1 = very poor to 5 = excellent, what grade would you give to the minister of education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, for her functioning in the current dispute between the Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Finance?” Here, too, we found that the public’s expectations are not being met: The average grade given to the minister across the total sample was a clear “fail,” at just 2.72, and the differences between the different sub-groups were found to be very small.
On a scale from 1 = very poor to 5 = excellent, what grade would you give to the minister of education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, for her functioning in the current dispute between the Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Finance?
Opening private schools
The low grade given to the education system by the public raises the question of whether the time has not come to allow the opening of private schools in Israel. We asked: “Do you support or oppose opening private schools in Israel, so that those who are able and willing to pay can obtain a better education for their children, or one that better suits their values?” It appears that the public are divided on this issue, with a slight advantage to those who oppose this move toward privatization.
Do you support or oppose opening private schools in Israel, so that those who are able and willing to pay can obtain a better education for their children, or one that better suits their values? (total sample; %)
In the Jewish sample, opposition to private schools is slightly stronger on the Left and in the Center (56% together) than on the Right (49%).
Will improving teachers’ pay improve the quality of teaching?
We asked: “Do you believe or not believe that improving teachers’ working conditions and pay will bring better teachers into the education system?” Here, we found a clear majority (70%) of respondents who believe that paying higher salaries will attract higher quality teachers. A breakdown by political orientation reveals that the Left has the highest share who see a link between teachers’ pay and quality of teaching staff (Left, 88%; Center, 70%; Right, 69%).
Should schools move to a five-day week?
Much has been made of the fact that school vacations are not aligned with parents’ vacation days from work, and that the school day is too short, requiring parents to find arrangements for their children in the afternoons and during holidays. We found that a majority of the sample (55%) support the idea that, just as the rest of the Israeli economy switched to a five-day working week some time ago, so the education system should also be shifted to a five-day week. Among Arabs, support for this proposal is much higher than among Jews (70%, versus 52%, respectively). Unsurprisingly, those with below-average incomes, who are also more likely to be working six days a week, are less supportive of a five-day week for schools than those with average or above-average incomes.
A large part of the Israeli economy moved to a five-day working week years ago. Do you think that the education system should also be shifted to a five-day working week? (agree; total sample, and Jewish sample by income; %)
Making a pay agreement with the teachers dependent on “peace and quiet”
A sizable majority (65%) of the total sample think that any agreement to be signed by the state with the teachers should require a commitment by the teachers not to declare another work dispute for at least the next five years, so as to stabilize the education system and ensure peace and quiet. On this issue, we found some differences among the political camps, though in all three a majority agree with this proposal. It transpires that those on the Left are less enthusiastic about tying employees’ hands for an extended period.
In your opinion, should the signing of an agreement with the teachers by the state be made conditional on a binding commitment not to open another work dispute for at least the next five years, in order to stabilize the system and ensure peace and quiet? (total sample, and Jewish sample by political orientation; %)
Why has no agreement been reached yet?
It appears that there is no public consensus about who is to blame for the dispute dragging out. The share of respondents who attributed this lack of progress to power issues or political considerations on the part of the Teachers’ Union (led by Yaffa Ben-David) was identical to the share who blamed power issues or political considerations on the part of the finance minister and the Ministry of Finance (32% in both cases), while almost one-quarter (22%) pointed the finger at the considerable distance between the two sides’ positions.
Which of the following factors has the strongest influence on the current difficulty in reaching an agreement between the state and the Teachers’ Union? (total sample; %)
On this question, we found sizable differences between voters for parties currently in the coalition and voters for parties in the opposition: Among the former group, the largest share (42%) consider power issues or political considerations on the part of the Teachers’ Union to be the main factor for the deadlock, while only 27% blame the finance minister and Ministry of Finance. By contrast, 40% of voters for opposition parties attribute the crisis to power issues or political considerations on the part of the finance minister and Ministry of Finance, compared with just 25% who view the culprit as being similar considerations on the part of the Teachers’ Union.
Which of the following factors has the strongest influence on the current difficulty in reaching an agreement between the state and the Teachers’ Union? (total sample, by vote at the previous elections for coalition or opposition party; %)
The August 2022 Israeli Voice Index was prepared by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute. The survey was conducted via the internet and by telephone (to include groups that are under-represented on the internet) between August 21–24, 2022, with 602 men and women interviewed in Hebrew and 152 in Arabic, constituting a nationally representative sample of the adult population in Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error was ±3.59% at a confidence level of 95%. Field work was carried out by Midgam Research and Consulting Ltd. The full data file can be found at: Data Israel.