Polls Predict Rise in Arab Voter Turnout Ahead of Nov. 1 Elections

Two polls released this week predicted an increase in Arab voter turnout, despite months of surveys predicting that less than half the community will participate in the November 1 elections.

The Israel Democracy Institute’s Special Arab Society Election Survey, released Thursday found that among respondents, 50.5% said they were “certain” they would vote, while 19.4% said they “thought” they would vote. (Given recent turnouts, it is highly unlikely that 70% of Israeli Arabs will vote.)

Of the 29.4% who said they did not intend to vote, 10.2% “think” and 19.2% are “certain” not to go to the polls.

A similar survey released Tuesday by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation (KAP) at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center found that 49% of Arab Israelis planned to vote.

“Contrary to the picture seen a month ago, when a deep indifference towards the elections prevailed in the Arab street, this current poll reveals a growing interest of Arab voters to participate in the elections,” said Arik. Rudnitzky, the program manager.

Last month, a survey by the Kan state broadcaster’s Arabic-language Makan news site found only 40.5 percent. Israeli Arabs plan to vote in the elections.

Members of the Joint List’s Hadash and Ta’al factions speak to the media after splitting with Balad on September 15, 2022. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

In 2020, a 63.5% turnout in Arab localities earned the Joint List – then made up of Ra’am, Hadash, Ta’al and Balad – a record 15 seats.

Last year’s elections, in which the Islamic Ra’am party ran separately from the rest of the Joint (Arab) List, saw voter turnout in Arab localities drop to 44.6%. Turnout among Arab voters has lagged that of the general electorate by at least 10 points in every election since 2015.

In the current campaign, Ra’am and Hadash-Ta’al voted just above the electoral threshold and are expected to win four seats each, while Balad is not expected to win any mandates in the elections, according to opinion polls.

When asked who they would prefer to serve as prime minister, 34.2% of respondents told Tel Aviv University that there was no suitable candidate for the job.

However, 18.6% said they preferred opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu for the role, 6.6% said Balad chairman Sami Abu Shahadeh, 6.3% supported Ta’al’s Ahmad Tibi , 4.8% answered Mansour Abbas of Ra’am, 4.7% named Prime Minister Yair Lapid. , 3.2% Defense Minister Benny Gants, and only 3% said Hadash’s Ayman Odeh.

The IDI found that only half of Arab Israelis believe that existing political parties represent their views. Of these, 31% said there was a party that “partially represents their views”, while 18% said one of the parties “fully represents their views”.

Asked specifically about Arab lawmakers, 53% of respondents said Arab lawmakers do not represent the diverse views of their community, while 45.5% think they do.

Arab Israelis are largely enthusiastic about the idea of ​​Arab parties joining a coalition government, with 69.5% supporting such a move and 29% opposing it. Additionally, 75% responded that they would approve of an Arab MP becoming a minister.

However, only 43% of respondents thought Ra’am’s participation in the coalition had improved the lives of Arab Israelis, with 55% disagreeing.

Asked by the IDI which issue should be “at the heart of the electoral campaign”, 54% answered that violence in Arab society, 16% said housing, 11% said the status of the Al- Aqsa in the Old City of Jerusalem, and only 5% mentioned the Palestinian issue.

Arab Israelis are split on whether their vote actually counts, with 48% thinking it does and 53% thinking it doesn’t.

Israeli Arabs block a road as they protest violence, organized crime and recent killings in their communities, in Tel Aviv, October 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

According to the survey, Israeli Arabs have varying opinions about the main reason for the high crime rates in their community.

Among them, 28% said that poverty in the Arab community and the high financial benefits of involvement in crime were responsible, 28% blamed the police and ineffective law enforcement, and 20% blamed the lack of state funding for crime prevention.

Additionally, 7% accused Arab leaders of not cooperating with the police; 5% said Arab society is violent and therefore additional resources or cooperation were not relevant; 4% blamed values, home and education; 2.5% blamed the authorities’ decline in power and influence in Arab society; and 3.5% agreed with all of the reasons, and 2% said they didn’t know.

The IDI survey sampled 614 men and women aged 18 and over who were interviewed in Arabic, with a sampling error of 3.95% at a 95% confidence level. The Tel Aviv University study sampled 510 Israeli Arabs aged 18 and older who were interviewed in Arabic, with a sampling error of 4.4%.

Jack Mukand contributed to this report.

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