PSR - Survey Research Unit: Poll No. 45 - Press Release


PSR poll 45 - press release

 

17 September 2012

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (45)

 

With positive evaluation of the performance of the Fayyad government declining sharply, satisfaction with President Abbas decreasing, and popularity of Fateh in the West Bank significantly dropping, a larger percentage of Palestinians evaluates, for the first time since the split in 2007, more positively conditions in the Gaza Strip over conditions in the West Bank at a time when more than three quarters believe that protests in the West Bank will continue and escalate, more than half believe that the protests will reach the Gaza Strip, and two thirds say that the prevailing economic conditions force them to protest

 

13-15 September 2012

 

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 13-15 September 2012. This poll was conducted during a period that witnessed significant price hikes, particularly fuel prices, and right after the eruption of widespread protests in the West Bank that started in early September but quieted down after the Fayyad government restored the older prices of diesel and gas. In the Gaza Strip, a young unemployed man burned himself but no mass protests took place. The same period witnessed incidents of lawlessness in northern West Bank, including the assassination of a colonel in the Preventive Security force in Jenin. Preparation for local elections continued in the West Bank while reconciliation efforts stalemated with Abbas announcing that no reconciliation government will be formed until Hamas allowed the Election Commission to resume its work in the Gaza Strip and agreed to hold general elections, two conditions that Hamas rejected. Under these conditions, Fayyad proposed holding parliamentary elections in the West Bank. During this period, the PLO announced that it intends to seek UN recognition of Palestine as a non member state but did not specify a date for the request. The period witnessed continued settlers' violence against Palestinians and threats by Israeli foreign minister against Abbas. But with the end of Ramadan, Israeli Civil Administration issued more than one hundred thousand permits allowing Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Jerusalem and Israel. It is worth noting that president Abbas went into a visit to India during the worst days of West Bank mass protests. This press release covers Palestinian attitudes regarding West Bank protests, general and local elections, reconciliation, public evaluation of the performance of the governments of Salam Fayyad and Ismail Haniyeh, the internal balance of power between Fateh and Hamas, and the views of the public on the most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems Palestinians confront today. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%. While this press release covers domestic Palestinian issues, other issues related to the peace process and Israeli-Palestinian relations will be covered in a separate joint Palestinian-Israeli press release and later in our more detailed report on the poll.

 

For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email pcpsr@pcpsr.org.

Main Findings:

 

The third quarter of 2012 brings bad news for the PA in the West Bank. Positive evaluation of West Bank conditions drops significantly. Similarly, positive evaluation of the performance of the Fayyad government drops sharply. Moreover, Fateh's popularity drops and satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas decreases. By contrast, positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip rises. Indeed, for the first time since the split in 2007, a larger percentage of Palestinians give more positive evaluation to conditions in the Gaza Strip than to conditions in the West Bank. It is clear that the wave of price hikes and the decisions taken by the Fayyad government, in raising prices of fuel, are responsible for this sudden shift in public attitudes and evaluations. Indeed, findings show that two thirds of the public say that the current difficult economic situation forces them to demonstrate and protest while more than three quarters of the public expect the current wave of protests to continue and escalate. More than half of the public (55%) expect the protests to spread into the Gaza Strip.

In the midst of this environment, pessimism regarding reconciliation increases with the percentage of those expecting the split to become permanent doubling in 18 months, since March 2011. Findings also show that two-thirds reject the idea of holding legislative elections in the West Bank only, believing that such elections would further consolidate the split. But a majority of Palestinians accept president Abbas' position that conditions reconciliation on a Hamas consent to holding elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

 

(1) Price Hikes and Popular Protests:

  • More than three quarters (76%) expect the West Bank protests to continue and escalate while 22% expect them to stop. Moreover, a majority of 55% expects the protests to spread into the Gaza Strip and 39% do not expect that.
  • 66% say the price hikes and the inability to provide for a better life force them to take part in the protests and 33% say they do not wish to take part in these protests.
  • 51% of the public is convinced that the current financial crisis of the PA is real while 44% think it is manufactured.
  • The largest percentage (37%) believe that the international financial crisis and the inability of the donor countries to fulfill their obligations to the PA is the reason behind the financial crisis of the PA while 28% say the reason is the cessation of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and 16% say the reason behind the crisis is the revolts in the Arab World and the Arab preoccupation with their own problems.
  • 51% oppose increasing taxes or forcing a number of public sector employees into early retirement as means of resolving the financial crisis of the PA, while 30% support early retirement, 8% support a tax increase, and 10% support both, the early retirement and the tax increase.
  • By contrast, 44% believe that a return to negotiations would resolve the financial crisis, as donor assistance would increase, while 34% believe that dissolving the PA resolves its financial crisis.
  • A majority of 53% believes that the PA will continue to be able to pay salaries during next year while 37% believe the PA will not be able to do so.

 

(2) Reconciliation:

         58% agree and 35% disagree with Abbas' position that the formation of a reconciliation government will come only after Hamas allows the Election Commission to resume work in the Gaza Strip and to set a date for elections.

         On the other hand, only 28% support and 66% oppose Fayyad's proposal to hold legislative elections in the West Bank only.

         Indeed, 63% believe that holding legislative elections in the West Bank only would lead to the consolidation of the West Bank-Gaza Strip split while only 10% believe it will increase the chances for reconciliation.

         In ligh