PSR Poll 35 - Press release
08 March 2010
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (35)
While a majority of Palestinians supports holding local elections and will participate in those elections in the West Bank even if Hamas boycotts them, an overwhelming majority believes reports regarding corruption and scandals within the PA are accurate; these corruption charges weaken the legitimacy of President Abbas and Salam Fayyad’s government
4-6 March 2010
These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 4 and 6 March 2010. The poll was conducted after the PA announcement regarding the holding of local elections in July 2010, the leveling of corruption charges against senior PA officials by a former Palestinian intelligence official, publication of reports about the Egyptian construction of an underground iron barrier along the Egyptian borders with Rafah, and reports of an American proposal to conduct proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%. This press release covers domestic Palestinian issues; issues related to the peace process and Israeli-Palestinian relations will be covered in a separate joint Palestinian-Israeli press release. For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email email@example.com.
Findings of the first quarter of 2010 show a limited setback for president Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and a limited improvement in the standing of Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas. The change might have been caused by press reports that revealed cases of corruption and scandals inside the PA. These reports have been seen, and most importantly have been seen as credible, by a majority of Palestinians. Despite this setback for the PA and Abbas, a majority of Palestinians, particularly in the West Bank, supports the holding of local elections even before reconciliation and even if Hamas boycotts the elections. Findings also show that the top most important Palestinian priority today is the reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This finding serves Fateh’s interests very well as a large percentage of Palestinians believe that while a Fateh electoral victory would strengthen the chances for reunifications, a large percentage believes that a Hamas victory would consolidate separation.
- 54% support and 41% oppose the holding of local elections in the West Bank next July even if reconciliation talks have not succeeded by then to unify the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Support for holding local elections is higher in the West Bank, reaching 60%, and lower in the Gaza Strip, standing at 46%. If local elections were held in the West Bank on the stated date of July 2010, a majority of the West Bankers (53%) would participate even if Hamas boycotts the elections and even if reconciliation was not achieved by that date. 43% of the West Bankers say they will not participate in the local elections. Respondents in Gaza were not asked about participation in the local elections.
- 72% heard about reports of scandals and charges of corruption in the Palestinian Authority or saw a video tape mentioned in those reports and more than two thirds of them (69%) believe those reports and charges to be accurate while 24% do not. In this regard, only 41% have confidence and 50% do not have confidence in the investigation committee established by the PA president to examine these reports of scandals and charges of corruption. Moreover, 50% say they believe and 38% say they do not believe that the PA Intelligence Department was behind the filming of the video tape mentioned in the reports and charges of corruption. About three quarters (74%) reject or strongly reject allowing PA security services to photograph or film Palestinians in embarrassing situations, as the case may have been in the video tape mentioned in the reports and 22% accept such a role for the security services.
- If new presidential elections are held today, Abbas would receive the vote of 50% of the voters (compared to 54% last December) and Haniyeh would receive 40% (compared to 38% last December). But if the presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, the former would receive 63% (compared to 67% last December) and the latter would receive 32% (compared to 28% last December). Most popular figures selected by the public as a possible vice president are Marwan Barghouti (selected by 30% of the public), Ismail Haniyeh (19%), Salam Fayyad (14%) Mustafa Barghouti (11%), and Saeb Erekat (5%).
- If new legislative elections are held today with the participation of all factions, 72% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who would participate, 42% say they would vote for Fateh and 28% say they would vote for Hamas, 11% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 19% are undecided. Three months ago Fateh received 43%, Hamas 27%, third parties combined 14%, and the undecided stood at 17%.
- 11% say conditions in the Gaza Strip are good or very good and 73% say conditions are bad or very bad. By contrast, 31% say conditions in the West Bank are good or very good and 36% say they are bad or very bad. Similarly, 30% say conditions of democracy and human rights under the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip are good or very good. By contrast, 37% say these conditions in the PA under president Abbas are good or very good. 61% say their security and safety and that of their families are assured. In the West Bank, perception of personal and family safety and security stands at 55% and in the Gaza Strip, perception of safety and security stands today at 70%.
- Positive evaluation of the performance of the Haniyeh government reaches 39% and positive evaluation of the performance of Salam Fayyad’s government stands at 42%. In the Gaza Strip, 44% say the performance of Haniyeh’s government is good or very good while only 36% of West Bankers say the same. Positive evaluation of the Fayyad government reaches 40% in the Gaza Strip and 43% in the West Bank. 47% are satisfied with the performance of president Abbas and 50% are not satisfied.
- 28% believe that Haniyeh’s government is the legitimate one and only 26% say that Abu Mazin’s and Fayyad’s government is the legitimate one, and 31% say both governments are illegitimate. Three months ago, 26% said Haniyeh’s government was the legitimate one and 30% said Fayyad’s government was the legitimate one. Moreover, 53% say PA president Abbas has lost his legitimacy when his term ended and 41% disagree with that. Similarly, 53% say the Palestinian Legislative Council has lost its legitimacy after its term ended and 39% disagree with that.
- The largest percentage (59%) views the unification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the top most important Palestinian priority today, 24% believe the top priority is the opening of border crossings, and 17% believe the top priority is the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip. In this regard, if Hamas wins the next elections, 61% say such outcome would lead to the consolidation of the siege and international boycott while 12% say it would lead to the lifting of the siege and boycott. But if Fateh wins the next elections, only 9% say such outcome would lead to the consolidation of the siege while 57% say it would lead to the lifting of the siege. Moreover, if Hamas wins the next elections, such outcome would lead to the consolidation of the separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the eyes of 46% of the public while only 19% believe it would lead to consolidation of unity. But if Fateh wins the next elections, only 27% believe this would consolidate separation and 32% believe it would strengthen unity.
- 31% say unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will not be restored and two separate entities will develop while only 15% say unity will be reestablished soon. But the largest percentage (47%) say unity will eventually be restored but after a long time. In this regard, only 14% say Hams is responsible for the split and 12% say Fateh is responsible. Almost two thirds (64%) say both are responsible for the continued split. Moreover, findings show that 24% of the public believes that Hamas is responsible for the failure to hold elections on time and 12% believe Fateh is the one responsible for that. But the largest percentage, 31%, blames Israel.
- The public is split on its views regarding the aim behind the building of the underground iron barrier along the Egyptian-Rafah borders: 35% believe the aim is to pressure Hamas to sign the reconciliation declaration (43% in the Gaza Strip and 30% in the West Bank), 31% believe the aim is to contribute to the siege of the Gaza Strip (25% in the Gaza Strip and 35% in the West Bank), and 28% believe the aim is to protect the security of Egypt from smugglers (29% in the Gaza Strip and 27% in the West Bank.
* This survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah.
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