PSR - Survey Research
Unit: Poll No. 47 - Press Release
1 April 2013
Public Opinion Poll No (47)
Hamas and Haniyeh drops and the popularity of Fateh and Abbas rises but
pessimism regarding reconciliation prevails once again and a majority believes
the new Obama administration will not succeed in reviving the peace process
28-30 March 2013
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 28-30 March 2013. The period before
the poll witnessed the formation of a new Israeli government and a visit by the
US president to Israel and Palestine. The period also witnessed the development
of a new form of popular resistance against settlements through the
establishment of tent encampments in areas threatened by settlement expansion.
Reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas failed to make progress despite
the fact that the election commission has completed its voter registration
campaign in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This press release covers
public evaluation of the general West Bank and Gaza conditions, 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. It also covers issues related to the
peace process, Obama’s visit, and Palestinian options in the confrontation
against occupation. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to
face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.
For further details, contact
PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email
Findings of the first quarter of 2013 indicate a return to pre Gaza war balance
between Fatah and Hamas. The popularity of Hamas and Ismail Haniyeh, the prime
minister of the dismissed government, drops and Fatah’s popularity and that of
president Abbas rises. Last December, the Gaza war gave Hamas and Haniyeh
greater credibility and popularity while decreasing that of Fatah and Abbas.
Yet, positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip remains higher than
positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank. Moreover, perception of
safety and security remains higher in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank.
Positive evaluation of the performance of the Haniyeh government is much higher
than the positive evaluation of the performance of the Fayyad government.
Nonetheless, about half of Gazans say they would like to immigrate from the
Strip while a little over a quarter of West Bankers say they wish to immigrate.
Findings also indicate a dramatic reversal in the level of optimism regarding
the chances for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Indeed, about half of
the public believes that a successful reconciliation and reunification requires
regime change in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip or at least in one of the
two areas. Furthermore, two-thirds to three-quarters believe that reconciliation
is impossible under current conditions in which restrictions are imposed on the
freedoms of supporters of Fatah or Hamas or in which no date is set for new
Finally, findings indicate continued pessimism regarding the chances for
reviving the peace process in the aftermath of the Obama visit. An overwhelming
majority believes that president Obama will not succeed in pressing Israel to
freeze settlement construction. Perhaps due to these conclusions, the percentage
of those who say that their feelings toward president Obama have changed to the
worse is four times higher than the percentage of those who say their feelings
have changed to the better. Given the promised US financial assistance to the
PA, a clear majority believes that this support will not be sufficient to
resolve the PA’s financial problem but a majority believes that such support
might in fact deter the PA from fighting Israel in the international arena
including at the International Criminal Court.
(1) Presidential, Legislative, and Local Elections:
If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated,
Abbas would receive the vote of 52% and Haniyeh 41% of the vote of those
participating. The rate of participation in such elections would reach 62%.
Three months ago, Abbas received the support of 45% and Haniyeh 48%. In this
poll, in the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 53% and Haniyeh 44% and in the West
Bank Abbas receives 52% and Haniyeh 39%.
If presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh,
the former would receive 60% and the latter would receive 33% of the
participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this case would reach 69%.
In our December poll Barghouti received 51% of the vote and Haniyeh 42%.
If presidential elections were between three: Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti
and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti would receive the largest percentage (38%)
followed by Haniyeh (31%), and Abbas (26%). The rate of participation in
this case would reach 73%. In our previous poll last September, Barghouti
received 29%, Haniyeh 39%, and Abbas 27%.
If new legislative elections are held today with the participation of all
factions, 71% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who
would participate, 29% say they would vote for Hamas and 41% say they would
vote for Fatah, 11% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 20%
are undecided. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 33%
and in the West Bank at 27%. Vote for Fatah in the Gaza Strip stands in this
poll at 42% and in the West Bank at 40%. These results indicate an increase
in Fatah’s popularity compared to our December results when it stood at 36%
(38% in the Gaza Strip and 34% in the West Bank). By contrast, Hamas’
popularity dropped six percentage points in the combined West Bank and the
(2) Domestic Conditions:
Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip drops from 43% three
months ago to 32% in this poll while 40% say conditions are bad or very bad.
Similarly, positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank drops from 35%
three months ago to 29% in this poll while 44% say conditions are bad or
Perception of corruption in PA institutions in the West Bank stands at 78%
in this poll compared to 74% three months ago. Perception of corruption in
the public institutions of Hamas’ Gaza government stands at 64% compared to
53% three months ago.
21% say there is, and 44% say there is to some extent, press freedom in the
West Bank. By contrast, 16% say there is, and 35% say there is to some
extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip.
33% of the Palestinian public say people in the West Bank can criticize the
authority in the West Bank without fear. By contrast, 25% of the public say
people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities in Gaza without fear.
These results indicate a decrease in the perception of freedom to criticize
authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip compared to results obtained
three months ago.
Perception of safety and security in the West Bank stands at 54% and in the
Gaza Strip at 67%. Three months ago these percentages stood at 70% in the
Gaza Strip and 60% in the West Bank.
Findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek immigration to
other countries stands at 49%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at
27%. Last December these percentages stood at 41% and 22% respectively.
Positive evaluation of the performance of the Haniyeh government drops
sharply from 56% three months ago to 40% in this poll and positive
evaluation of the performance of the Fayyad government drops also from 34%
to 25% during the same period.
Percentage of satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas drops
from 54% three months ago to 49% in this poll. Dissatisfaction with the
president performance stands today at 49% compared to 44% three months ago.
In the absence of visible progress in the Fateh-Hamas reconciliation
dialogue, percentage of optimism about the chances for reunification of the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip drops sharply from 39% three months ago to 18%
in this poll. Moreover, the belief that unity is impossible and that two
separate entities will emerge increases from 18% to 33% during the same
37% say that ending the split requires regime change in both the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip while 12% say it requires regime change in the Gaza Strip
only and an identical percentage believes that it requires regime change in
the West Bank. Only 34% say that restoring unity does not require regime
change in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.
We asked respondents about conditions under which they believe
reconciliation cannot succeed. About three quarters (74%) believes that
reconciliation will not succeed without first ending the restrictions on
freedoms enjoyed by supporters of Hamas in the West Bank and a similar
percentage (72%) believes that it will not succeed without ending
restrictions on freedoms enjoyed by supporters of Fatah in the Gaza Strip.
Similarly, 66% say it will not succeed without first agreeing on an election
date; 61% say it will not succeed if Hamas continues to reject agreements
signed by the PLO with Israel; 58% say it will not succeed if security
coordination with Israel in the West Bank continues; another 58% say it will
not succeed if the PA continues to recognize Israel and the Oslo agreements;
and 49% say it will not succeed as along as Hamas insists on keeping its al
Qassam armed wing in the Gaza Strip.
(4) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting
46% believe that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to
end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian
state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its
capital. By contrast, 31% believe the first most vital goal should be to
obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages, 14%
believe that it should be to build a pious or moral individual and a
religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings, and 10% believe
that the first and most vital goal should be to establish a democratic
political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians.
The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is the spread
of poverty and unemployment in the eyes of 28% of the public while 26% say
it is the absence of national unity due to the West Bank-Gaza Strip split,
22% believe the most serious problem is the continuation of occupation and
settlement activities, 15% believe the most serious problem is corruption in
some public institutions, and 7% believe it is the siege and the closure of
the Gaza border crossings.
(5) The Peace Process:
55% support and 44% oppose a two-state solution based on the establishment
of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. But 56% believe that
the two-state solution is no longer practical due to settlement expansion
and 41% think that it remains practical. Moreover, 68% believe that the
chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state next to the state of
Israel during the next five years are low or non-existent while 31% believe
the chances are medium or high.
Nonetheless, only 29% support a one-state solution based on equality for
Arabs and Jews and 70% oppose it.
71% are worried and 28% are not worried that they or members of their
families would be hurt by Israelis or their land confiscated or homes
59% believe that Israel’s long term goal is to expand its borders to include
all territories between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel
their Palestinian population, 21% believe that Israel’s aim is to annex all
occupied territories while denying Palestinians their political rights. 18%
believe that Israel’s long term aspiration is to withdraw from all or parts
of the 1967-occupied territories after ensuring its security.
When asked about the long term goal of the PLO and the PA, 64% said that it
is to recover all or some of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967,
15% said it is to defeat Israel and recover the 1948 territories, and 11%
said it is to defeat Israel and destroy its Jewish population.
55% support the Saudi (Arab) Peace Initiative but only 42% support and 56%
oppose mutual recognition of Israel as the state for the Jewish people and
Palestine as the state for the Palestinian people.
63% support a resort to popular non-violent resistance and 71% believe, and
26% do not believe, that creating facts on the ground, such as the placement
of tent encampments in area C, would be an effective means of confronting
settlement expansion and protecting land threatened by settlers.
By contrast, 40% support a return to an armed intifada and an identical
percentage supports the dissolution of the PA.
(6) Obama’s Visit:
In the aftermath of Obama’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories,
a majority of 55% believes that the US administration will not succeed in
reviving the peace process and bringing the two sides to the negotiating
table. 42% believe it will succeed in that goal.
Moreover, 70% believe that the American administration will not succeed in
pressuring Israel to freeze settlement construction and 28% believe it will
succeed in that.
The public is split regarding the preferred role for the US in the peace
process: 45% want a stronger US role and 46% want to see the US out of the
peace process. In June 2010, two thirds (66%) wanted a stronger US role and
only 27% wanted the US out of the process. But in March 2011, after the US
used its veto power to block a UN Security Council resolution condemning
settlements, 69% said they opposed a larger US role in the peace process and
only 27% said they supported a larger US role.
In the aftermath of Obama’s visit to Israel and Palestine, 29% say their
feelings for president Obama have changed to the worse while only 8% say
their feelings have turned to the better. 61% said their feelings did not
Despite the US announcement that it will release US$500 million to the PA, a
large majority of 71% does not believe such financial support will end the
PA’s financial crisis. However, 62% believe that the PA will now be deterred
from confronting Israel at the international arena, including at the
International Criminal Court, since it has to rely so much on US financial
survey was conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah.
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