24 December 2013
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (50)
Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip drops along with Hamas’ popularity and fewer people now believe that Hamas’ way is the best way to end occupation and build a state; on the other hand satisfaction with the performance of Abbas and Hamdallah increases and more people believe that Abbas’ is the best way
19-22 December 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 19-22 December 2013. The period before the poll witnessed continuation of the friction between Egypt and Hamas’ government in Gaza, the continuation of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the release of more prisoners by Israel, an increase in violent incidents, release of reports on Arafat’s poisoning, and talk about the appointment of Marwan Barghouti as vice president to Abbas. 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 Ismail Haniyeh and Rami al Hamdallah, public satisfaction with the performance of President Mahmud Abbas, the internal balance of power between Fateh and Hamas, reports on Arafat’s poisoning, and others. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%. Findings related the peace process will be released separately next week.
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 last quarter of 2013 indicate a continued decline in the positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip, presumably as a result of the continued political conflict between Egypt and the Hamas government and the continued closure of tunnels and the Rafah crossing. This decline, which we first noticed in our September poll, is now affecting Hamas’ popularity in the Gaza Strip where it dropped significantly. It is worth mentioning however that Hamas’ popularity in the West Bank has not changed. Similarly, despite the continuation of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank remained unchanged compared to the findings of September 2013.
By contrast, satisfaction with the performance of Abbas in the Gaza Strip has significantly increased and positive evaluation of the performance of Prime Minister Al Hamdallah increased in both areas, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. More importantly, it seems that these changes have affected attitudes regarding whose way is the best to end occupation and build a Palestinian state. Current findings show a significant decrease in the percentage of those who believe that Hamas’ way is the best way and a significant increase in the percentage of those who believe that Abbas’ way is the best way. It should be noted however that the percentage of those who believe that Hamas’ way is the best way remains higher than the percentage of those who believe that Abbas’ is the best.
(1) Presidential and Legislative Elections:
If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive the vote of 52% and Haniyeh 42% of the vote of those participating. The rate of participation in such elections would reach 62%. Three months ago, Abbas received the support of 51% and Haniyeh 42%. In this poll, in the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 50% and Haniyeh 48% and in the West Bank Abbas receives 53% and Haniyeh 39%.
If presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former would receive 61% and the latter would receive 34% of the participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this case would reach 70%. In our September 2013 poll Barghouti received 58% of the vote and Haniyeh 35%.
If presidential elections were between three: Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti would receive the largest percentage (40%) followed by Haniyeh (31%), and Abbas (26%). The rate of participation in this case would reach 74%. In our previous poll last September, Barghouti received 35%, Haniyeh 33%, and Abbas 27%.
73% support and 20% oppose the appointment of Marwan Barghouti as a vice president to Abbas. Support for this appointment stands at 79% in the Gaza Strip and 69% in the West Bank.
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 40% say they would vote for Fatah, 8% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 23% are undecided. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 33% and in the West Bank at 26%. Vote for Fatah in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 39% and in the West Bank at 41%. These results indicate a sharp decrease in support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip from the 39% it had last September. In the West Bank however Hamas’ popularity increased by one percentage point during the same period. Fatah, on the other hand, increased its popularity in the West Bank by two percentage points and in the Gaza Strip by one percentage point during the same period.
(2) Domestic Conditions:
Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip continues to drop reaching 16% in this poll compared to 21% three months ago and 36% six months ago. 65% say conditions in the Gaza Stip are bad or very bad.
Positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank remains almost unchanged compared to three months ago standing today at 30%. But the percentage of those who believe conditions in the West Bank are bad or very bad decreases from 44% to 36% during the same period.
Perception of corruption in PA institutions in the West Bank stands at 77% in this poll. Perception of corruption in the public institutions of Hamas’ Gaza government stands at 68%.
22% say there is, and 46% say there is to some extent, press freedom in the West Bank. By contrast, 17% say there is, and 38% say there is to some extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip.
30% of the Palestinian public say people in the West Bank can criticize the authority in the West Bank without fear. By contrast, 24% of the public say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities in Gaza without fear.
Perception of safety and security in the West Bank stands at 55% and in the Gaza Strip at 62%. Three months ago these percentages stood at 55% in the Gaza Strip and 55% in the West Bank.
Findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek immigration to other countries stands at 45%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at 27%. Last September these percentages stood at 45% and 26% respectively.
Positive evaluation of the performance of the Haniyeh government stands at 37%.Three months ago it stood at 36%. Positive evaluation of the government of Rami al Hamdallah in the West Bank increases from 29% three months ago to 39% today.
Percentage of satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas rises from 49% three months ago to 53% in this poll. Dissatisfaction with the president performance stands today at 45%.
59% believe that Israel is responsible for poisoning former president Yasser Arafat and 21% believe that a Palestinian party or group or a joint Palestinian-Israeli party or group is responsible for Arafat’s death by poisoning.
Given the continued deterioration in the relations between the Hamas and the Egyptian governments, and the ups and downs in the Fateh-Hamas reconciliation dialogue, percentage of optimism about the chances for reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remains low reaching 16%. The belief that unity is impossible and that two separate entities will emerge drops from 41% three months ago to 37% in this poll. 43% believe that unity will be restored but only after a long time.
The public is split over the necessity of holding separate elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip if the current disunity continued for a long time: 48% believe it to be necessary to hold such separate elections and 49% believe it to be unnecessary.
The largest percentage (38%) believes that the PA, with its parts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, has become a burden on the Palestinian people and 26% believe that it is an accomplishment for the Palestinian people. Furthermore, 15% believe that the PA in the West Bank is an accomplishment while the PA in the Gaza Strip is a burden. By contrast, a similar percentage (14%) believes that the PA in the Gaza Strip is an accomplishment while the PA in the West Bank is a burden.
25% believe that the Haniyeh government in the Gaza Strip is the legitimate Palestinian government while 31% believe that the Abbas-Hamdallah government in the West Bank is the legitimate one; 11% believe that the two governments are legitimate. 27% believe that both governments are illegitimate. These findings indicate a drop in the percentage of those who believe that the two governments are illegitimate compared to the situation three years ago when in December 2010 that percentage stood at 34%. Other findings remained unchanged: 23% said at that time that Haniyeh’s government was the legitimate one, 29% said the Abbas-Fayyad government was the legitimate one, and 10% said the two governments were legitimate.
Compared to the situation a year ago, findings show a drop in the percentage of those who believe that Hamas’ way is the best way to end occupation and build a Palestinian state and an increase in the percentage of those who believe that Abbas’ way is the best way. In December 2012, in the aftermath of the Gaza war and the entry of Khalid Mishaal into the Gaza Strip, 60% believed that Hamas’ way and that of the resistance groups was the best to achieve the vital goals of the Palestinians while only 28% said Abbas’ was the best. Today, in the aftermath of the recent developments in Egypt and their ramifications to the Gaza Strip and in the aftermath of the return to Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and the release of some prisoners, the percentage of those who believe Hamas’ was is the best way drops to 39% while the percentage of those who believe that Abbas’ way is the best way rises to 36%. The current findings show that 25% (compared to 13% a year ago) believe that other ways are better or do not know which way is the best way. It is worth mentioning that the 2012 question refer to “Hamas’ and the resistance groups’ way” while the current question refers to “Hamas’ way.”
(4) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting Palestinians today:
42% 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, 33% believe the first most vital goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages, 15% 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. Three months ago, 45% said ending occupation and building a state was most vital goal and 29% said the most vital goal was the right of return.
The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is the spread of poverty and unemployment in the eyes of 27% of the public while 25% say it is the continuation of occupation and settlement activities; 22% believe the most serious problem is the absence of national unity due to the West Bank-Gaza Strip split, 15% believe the most serious problem is corruption in some public institutions, and 10% believe it is the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings.
*This PSR Poll has been conducted with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah.
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