CPRS Polls - Survey Research Unit
Public Opinion Poll #22
Armed Attacks, Peace Process, Elections, Unemployment, March 29-31, 1996
This is the Survey Research Unit's (SRU) twenty second public opinion poll and covers the topics of armed attacks, peace process and unemployment. The SRU has been conducting regular public opinion poll to document an important phase in the history of the Palestinian people and to record the reactions of the Palestinian community with regard to current political event. CPRS does not adopt political positions and does not tolerate attempts to influence the conclusions reached or published for political motives. CPRS is committed to providing a scholarly contribution to analysis and objective study and to publishing the results of all our studies and research. Poll results provide a vital resource for the community and for researchers needing statistical information and analysis. The polls give members of the community opportunity to voice their opinion and to seek to influence decision makers on issues of concerns to them.

Following is an analysis of the results of the twenty second opinion poll conducted by the SRU.


Table of Contents


General Background

The period before this poll witnessed several events, the most important of them was the assassination of Yahaya Ayyash "the engineer" which exploded in angry demonstrations in West Bank and Gaza and led to several suicide attacks. PNA and Hamas movements held talks, before that, in Cairo in order to reach a mutual understanding to improve relations between them and to stop armed operations. Israeli forces' redelployment was completed on time and civil responsibilities were transfered to the Palestinian authority. Israel released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners according to the Palestinian-Israel agreement, but it refused to release all female prisoners.

Palestinian elections for the legislative council took place leading to the election of a president and a legislative council.

Israel pursued the establishment and enlargment of new by-pass roads, confiscation of new lands, and settlement enlargement. The most important events in that period were the four suicide military operations between 25/2-4/3/1996 in West Jerusalem. Ashkelon, and Tel Aviv, leading to the death of 60 Israelis. Following that, the Israeli authorities applied harsh security measures against West Bank and Gaza. They closed the Wet Bank and Gaza, prevented movement between Palestinian villages and cities, and suspended peace negotiations.

The Israeli authorities demolished the two suicider's houses, and threatened to deport their relatives as well as other Hamas and Jihad activists. The Israelis also stormed and searched many Palestinian villages in area B under Palestinian control. They closed several institutions accused of being financed by Hamas. The economic and health situation detoriorated in Gaza because of Israeli seige and martime blockade.

Tough security measures had been taken against Hamas and Jihad by the PNA which had condemned the armed attacks. These included the arrest of hundreds of Hamas and Jihad activists. PNA also stormed Islamic University in Gaza and Al-Najah University in Nablus and banned all para-military organizations.

The most important event following the attacks was Sharm-Al-Sheikh conference, and the Israeli decision to postpone the Hebron redeployment.


Methodology

The questionnaire was designed through consultations with experts. A pre-test involving fifty questionnaires was conducted in the Nablus area prior to the poll. The questionnaire instrument includes a large number of demographic variables as indicated in the section on sample distribution.

Sample Selection

In this poll, multistage sampling techniques was employed to select the sample. There were four stages of sampling. The order of the four stages is as follows:

  • (a) selecting a population location with probabilities proportional to size sampling (PPS).
  • (b) selecting a house using systematic sampling.
  • (c) selecting a person 18 or older from the house.
We used 75 population locations in this poll. From which 1262 house hold were selected. The sample was designed to be selfweighting. This means that the estimates were obtained are unbiased estimates.

Fieldworkers and researchers created maps of these localities. These maps indicate the boundaries, main streets, and clusters of residential neighborhoods in these areas which were further divided into a number of sampling units (blocks) with each unit comprising an average of one hundred housing units. The sample units (blocks) to be surveyed were selected randomly.

Households were selected based on a systematic sampling framework. For example, if the fieldworker estimated the number of houses in the sampling unit to be one hundred an was assigned ten interviews, the fieldworker divided the 100 by 10, obtaining 10. Therefore, the fieldworker would conduct the first interview in the 10th house, and the second in the 20th, and so on. Fieldworkers started their sample selection of housing unit from a well-defined point in the area such as a post office, mosque, business, etc. They reported on the direction of their sampling walks, and played an active role in drawing the maps for the localities in the sample and estimating the number of houses in each block. Interviews were conducted between the 29-31 March 1996. The sample distribution included 1262 persons, 786 in the West Bank and 476 in the Gaza Strip.


Sample Distribution

(Expressed as a % of the total sample)
Sample distribution % Sample distribution %
Region
West Bank
Gaza Strip

62.3
37.7

Education
Upto 9 years
10-12 years
Two years college
University degree(s)

52.9
29.8
7.7
9.5 ***
Place of residence
City
Town/Village
Refugee Camp

33.4
47.7
18.9
Marital Status
Single
Married
Divorced or Widowed

16.6
79.0
4.4
Age
18-22
23-26
27-30
31-35
36-42
43-50
Over 50

14.2
13.2
13.5
12.6
15.3
15.3
17.7
Occupation
Laborers
Craftsmen
Housewives
Specialists*
Employees **
Merchants
Students
Farmers
Retired
None

9.5
8.0
47.0
2.0
9.4
4.5
4.5
2.5
1.0
11.6
Gender
Male
Female

45.0
55.0
Religion
Moslem
Christian

95.2
4.8
Refugee Status
Refugee
Non-Refugee

42.2
57.8
* Specialists (University teacher, engineer, doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, executive)
** Employees (school teacher, government employee, nurse, lower-level company employee)
-- Population Estimates are based on the "Statistical Abstract of Israel" (1993) and FAFO (1993), and Palestinian Statistical Bureau (1994).
**** for all post secondary degrees

Data Collection

Our data collectors have participated in a number of workshops where the goals of the poll were discussed. They were also lectured on household interviewing, confidence building, mapping, sampling techniques, survey methods, and scientific research. Four special training seminars for data collectors were conducted during this months, attended by a total of 75 fieldworkers.

Data collectors worked in teams of two supervised by qualified researchers. CPRS researchers made random visits to interview stations and discussed the research process with data collectors. More than fifty percent of our data collectors are female so as to ensure the representation of women in the sample. Data collectors were assigned a limited number of interviews (an average of 17 per team) to allow for careful interviewing.

Household interviews resulted in a non-response rate estimated at 3%. Some respondents, were believe, were reluctant to state their political views out of fear or disinterest in the present political factions.


Data Analysis

Data were processed through the use of SPSS, a computer package that is able to detect illogical answers and other inconsistencies. The margin of error for this poll is around + 5%.

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