Skip to main content

Polls report high numbers as Israel votes yet again

Despite predictions of voter fatigue in Israel's third round of elections in less than a year and growing fears of the coronavirus outbreak, voter turnout early in today's elections has been high.
An Israeli soldier casts his ballot as he votes in Israel's national election in a mobile polling station at a military post outside the northern Gaza Strip, in southern Israel March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RC2NBF9S65NP

Turnout was high for the Israeli elections today, with 27.6% of eligible voters casting their ballots by noon. The numbers contradict prior estimates of voter fatigue in the country's third elections in a year. Concerns over the coronavirus deterring voters were proven wrong, as were fears that foreign states or agents would try to influencing voting rates with misinformation. In fact, turnout as of noon was the highest registered in Israel since 1999, when the leftist camp won the election.

The central election committee, police and health authorities prepared 14 polling booths designed to serve several thousand quarantined voters with sanitation measures and protective gear for poll workers. Preparations have also been made to address any misinformation spread about the virus.

If turnout continues to be high until polls close tonight, it will surely impact results, yet it is unclear at the moment who stands to profit the most. Reports from Arab towns and villages indicate slightly higher turnout compared with the last two elections. If this trend continues, it could benefit the leftist bloc and Benny Gantz, who lost some of his momentum in recent days, with his Blue and White Party no longer polling as the biggest party.

Israel’s 2020 election has been highly dramatic, as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s fate depends on its outcome. His graft trial is scheduled to open on March 17. Netanyahu conducted an aggressive and focused election campaign, attacking Gantz as unfit to serve as premier. This morning Netanyahu disseminated messages on social networks arguing that the right needs just one more seat in order to win.

Gantz has also carried out an aggressive campaign in the days preceding the elections, comparing Netanyahu to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The mudslinging has made it one of the stormiest election campaigns Israel has ever experienced. Before casting his vote, President Reuven Rivlin commented, "I have an uneasy feeling, shame even. We just don't deserve this. We don't deserve another awful and grubby election campaign like the one that ends today and we don't deserve this never ending instability.’’

Still, all public opinion polls indicate that today’s elections won’t end the ongoing political stalemate and that Netanyahu won’t reach the majority of 61 Knesset seats he needs to compose the next government and continue as Israel’s prime minister. If the polls prove right, Israel could soon find itself in a fourth election race.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial