PSR - Survey Research Unit: Poll No. 8 - Press Release
Poll 8 summary

30 June 2003

PRESS RELEASE

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll

 

WHILE SUPPORT FOR ABU MAZIN DROPS, SUPPORT FOR A CEASEFIRE INCREASES WITH A MAJORITY SUPPORTING ENDING THE ARMED INTIFADA AND AGREEING TO A MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL AS THE STATE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND PALESTINE AS THE STATE OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

 

19-22 June 2003

Table of Contents:

  1. The popularity of Abu Mazin and his government drops
  2. A majority support for the Roadmap and for recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people
  3. A majority support for cease-fire (Hudna) and for ending the armed Intifada
  4. Evaluation of performance, Arafat's popularity, support for a vice president, and political affiliation
  5.  

    The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah has conducted a public opinion poll in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the period between 19-22 June 2003. A representative sample of 1318 adults was interviewed face to face in 120 locations, with 3% margin of error.

     

    For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki at Tel 02-2964933 or email kshikaki@pcpsr.org.

     

    One of the main findings of this poll is the decline in the level of support for Abu Mazin and his government. The decline may be attributed to the prime minister's speech in the Aqaba summit and to the fact that little or no change on the ground has been seen by public since the appointment of Abu Mazin. Most of the decline has taken place in the Gaza Strip, where the majority is refugees, indicating the extent to which the Aqaba speech, where Abu Mazin neglected to restate the Palestinian position on the right of return, may have contributed to that decline.

     

    Yet the decline in Abu Mazin's popularity does not indicate a drop in public support for the policies advocated by the prime minister, especially regarding the ceasefire and ending the armed intifada. To the contrary, the findings show an increased readiness to accept a mutual cessation of violence and a majority support for ending the armed intifada. Moreover, the results show a majority supporting a mutual recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people and Palestine as the state for the Palestinian people. This support was unexpected in light of the strong opposition voiced by the Palestinian leadership to such recognition during the preparation for the Aqaba summit. The recognition is even more astonishing in light of the fact that the majority of the Palestinians does not believe that a majority of Israelis support such mutual recognition.

     

    Support for the ceasefire, however, seems dependent on the position of Hamas and the policies of Israel. An opposition by Hamas to the ceasefire can greatly reduce the level of support for the "Hudna." The poll shows that Hamas' support has witnessed a big increase during the last three months making it the most popular group in the Gaza Strip, ahead of Fateh. In particular, the popularity of Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, one of the main leaders of Hamas, has suddenly increased. In addition to Hamas' position, continued Israeli assassinations, house demolitions and incursions could easily destroy the widespread public support for ending the armed intifada.

     

    Summary of Results

     

    (1) The popularity of Abu Mazin and his government drops

    • Support for the appointment of Abu Mazin as a prime minister drops from 61% in April to 52% in this poll
    • Trust in Abu Mazin's government reaches 41% with 52% refusing to grant it confidence
    • Drop in the level of confidence in the ability of Abu Mazin's government to carry out political reform from 43% last April to 38% in this poll, to fight corruption from 44% to 41%, to control the security situation from 39% to 35%. But confidence in its ability to return to negotiations with Israel remains the same (69%). Confidence in the government's ability to improve economic conditions increases from 50% to 56% during the same period.
    • 36% believe that Arafat is more able than Abu Mazin to reach a political agreement with Israel while 21% believe that Abu Mazin is more able, and 37% believe the two have the same ability.

     

    (2) A majority support for the Roadmap and for recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people

    • Support for the Roadmap reaches 56%, almost the same as last April when it stood at 55%.
    • But support for the different elements of the plan varies: 70% support consolidation of the security services into three organizations; 56% for ending incitement against Israel, 41% for restoring pre-intifada Arab links with Israel, 36% for arresting individuals conducting violent attacks on Israelis, 30% for the establishment of a state with provisional borders before settling the refugees and Jerusalem issues, and 25% for cutting off funding for groups engaged in terror and violence against Israelis
    • Nonetheless, a majority of 57% believe that Abu Mazin will stand by  Palestinian commitments as specified in the Roadmap, even though  only 34% are convinced that he will overcome opposition to the Roadmap from Hamas and others
    • A small minority of 15% believes that Sharon will stand by Israel's commitments in the Roadmap, but 30% believe he will overcome opposition to the Roadmap from the settlers and the extreme right
    • 48% believe that the US president is determined to move the peace process forward and to implement the roadmap, but only 40% believe that the Roadmap will lead to a political settlement with Israel
    • 48% believe that democratic reforms facilitate the peace process, 21% believe they inhibit it, and 23% believe they do not facilitate or inhibit it
    • A majority of 52% agree and 46% disagree with the proposal calling for mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people after the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settlement of all issues of the conflict
    • But only 40% believe, and 53% does not believe, that a majority of Palestinians support such recognition, while 37% believe that a majority of Israelis supports that recognition
    • A majority of 71% supports reconciliation between the two peoples after reaching a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state recognized by Israel

     

    (3) A majority support for cease-fire (Hudna) and for ending the armed Intifada

    • A majority of 73% supports a "Hudna" with Israel for one year during which no arms would be used against the Israelis while Israel would stop using arms against the Palestinians. But a higher percentage (80%) supports a mutual cessation of violence (that is not limited in time). Last April, only 71% supported a mutual cessation of violence.
    • If a mutual cessation of violence is arrived at, 50% support and 47% oppose taking measures by the Palestinian Authority to stop armed attacks against Israelis, and 76% believe that continued armed attacks in such a case would impede return to the peace process
    • A majority of 52% believes that now that the PA has accepted the Roadmap, armed intifada and all military activities from both sides must stop. But only 18% expect that armed confrontations would stop and a return to negotiations would take place. On the other hand 56% expect return to negotiations while some armed confrontations would continue.
    • 65% believe that armed confrontations have so far helped achieve Palestinian national rights in ways that negotiations could not
    • 58% support Hamas' refusal to accept a ceasefire (asked before Hamas announced that it accepts the ceasefire), but 67% are concerned that such a position by Hamas and other opposition groups could lead to internal Palestinian conflict

     

    (4) Evaluation of performance, Arafat's popularity, support for a vice president, and political affiliation

    • Highest level of positive evaluation of performance goes to the opposition groups (68%) followed by president Yasir Arafat (66%), while only 37% positively evaluate Abu Mazin's performance. Positive evaluation of the PLC stands at 29% and the new government of Abu Mazin at 27%.
    • A large majority of 84% believes that corruption exists in PA institutions and two-thirds of those believe that corruption will increase or remain the same in the future
    • Arafat's popularity, as a president for the PA, remains unchanged at 35% while support for Ahmad Yasin (for the same office) increases from 15% last April to 18% in this poll
    • In an open question (without giving any names to respondents) on selecting a vice president, Sa'eb Erikat comes on top with 8%, followed by Abu Mazin with 7%, Marwan Barghouti (5%), Haidar Abdul Shafi (4%), Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Mohammad Dahlan (3% each), and Ahmad Yasin, Farouq Qaddoumi and Hanan Ashrawi (2% each)
    • But in a closed question (with a list of 8 names) Marwan Barghouti comes on top with 21%, followed by Sa'eb Erikat with 12%, Haidar Abdul Shafi and Ahmad Yasin (8% each), Hanan Ashrawi and Farouq Qaddoumi (5% each), Abu Mazin (3%), and Abu Ala' (1%)
    • The popularity of Hamas increases from 17% last April to 22% in this poll, while support for Fateh remains unchanged at 26%.

     

     

     

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    This PSR survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ramallah.

     

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