Global Politics

Netanyahu’s Approval Rating Plummets After Pausing Judicial Overhaul

Roughly three-quarters of Israeli adults say their country is headed in the wrong direction
April 10, 2023 at 12:00 am UTC

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval rating has declined sharply since he shelved his controversial judicial overhaul in the face of mass domestic unrest, Morning Consult data shows.

Israelis Soured Further on Netanyahu After He Paused Judicial Overhaul

Share of Israeli adults who approve or disapprove of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s job performance
Surveys conducted March 18-27, 2023, and March 26-April 4, 2023, among representative samples of at least 1,078 adults in Israel, with unweighted margins of error of +/-3 percentage points.

Netanyahu has bled support in recent weeks

  • Nearly two-thirds of adults in Israel (63%) disapprove of Netanyahu’s job performance, while just 28% give him positive marks. 
  • Netanyahu’s net approval — the share of adults in Israel who approve of his job performance minus the share who disapprove — has plummeted 18 percentage points since March 15, and 12 points since March 27, when he announced a delay of his judicial plan. Adults in Israel are more likely to disapprove than approve of Netanyahu’s job performance by a 35-point margin.

Optimism About Israel’s Future Declined During Judicial Fight

Share of Israeli adults who say their country is headed in the right direction or on the wrong track
Optimism About Israel’s Future Declined During Judicial Fight
Each data point reflects a 10-day moving average of surveys conducted among representative samples of at least 851 adults in Israel, with unweighted margins of error of +/-3 percentage points. “Don’t know/no opinion” responses are not shown.

Optimism about Israel’s future has declined under Netanyahu’s government

  • Only 24% of adults in Israel say the country is headed in the right direction, down 10 points from when Netanyahu’s far-right government took power late last year. 
  • The share of Israeli adults who say the country is on the wrong track hit 77% on March 29, a record high since Morning Consult began tracking in Israel in October 2021. 

Netanyahu faces severe political, legal and security risks

With a unicameral legislature and a powerful premiership, Israel’s courts serve as an important check within its democracy, which helps illustrate why Netanyahu’s attempt to bring them under greater control has generated such pushback. Hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country poured into the streets, while members of Israel’s militarily crucial reserve corps went so far as to threaten to refuse to train or carry out operations, in an extremely rare example of military mass civil disobedience. 

Simultaneously, there’s been an upswell in tensions with Palestinians, which reached a new level last week after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, prompting rocket attacks from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. 

And behind it all, Netanyahu’s legal troubles that helped kick off Israel’s ongoing political crisis back in 2018 are still very much in the picture. His indictment means he cannot hold any portfolio outside the premiership, and before pausing the judicial overhaul, Netanyahu made sure legislation ensuring he cannot be removed from office due to the cases against him passed the Knesset.

The situation makes Netanyahu dependent on his allies from far-right parties to maintain his mandate in the Knesset. In exchange for their acquiescence to the pause, Netanyahu agreed to create a “civil guard” under the control of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right extremist.

A headshot photograph of Matthew Kendrick
Matthew Kendrick
Data Reporter

Matthew Kendrick is a data reporter at Morning Consult covering geopolitics and foreign affairs. @matt__kendrick

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