Palestinian Public Opinion Poll - 02 October 2010

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Palestinian Public Opinion Poll - 02 October 2010

Post by Zoya on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:13 am

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 30 September and 2 October 2010. The poll was conducted directly after the end of the Israeli moratorium on settlement construction and during Palestinian debate on the future of direct talks. Few weeks before the conduct of the poll, Hamas carried out an armed attack near Hebron leading to the death of four Israeli Jews. This release covers issues related to the direct talks, the withdrawal of government cars from senior civil servants, current conditions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, elections, future of reconciliation, Hamas’s attack on settlers, and others. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.

Main Findings:

Findings of the third quarter of 2010 show a clear majority of two thirds demanding a Palestinian pull out of the direct negotiations now that settlement construction has been resumed. Findings also show that a little over half of the public supports Hamas’s armed attack on Israeli settlers near Hebron, that attack took place on the eve of the Washington launching of the direct talks. It is worth noting that half of the Palestinians believe that Hamas’s goal was to derail these direct negotiations. It is also worth noting that the balance of power between Fateh and Hamas, in terms of popular support for each, has remained unchanged since the second quarter of this year. In fact, the popularity of President Abbas versus that of Ismail Haniyeh has improved during this period. This means that Hamas did not gain greater public sympathy despite popular support for its armed attack on settlers. It also means that Abbas and Fateh have not lost public support by going to direct talks that did not enjoy great public support and by cracking down on Hamas in the aftermath of Hamas’s armed attack on settlers. The overwhelming majority of the public opposed this crackdown.

Findings also show that the public is not optimistic about the chances for reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas despite the recent Damascus meeting between the two sides. They also show that about half of the public still believes that if Hamas wins the next Palestinian elections, the current split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be consolidated while only one quarter of the public believes the same will happen if Fateh wins the next elections.

Finally, results show that a clear majority supports the Fayyad government decision to withdraw government cars from senior civil servants.

1. Direct Negotiations after Resumption of Settlement Construction:

In light of the resumption of settlement construction, two thirds (66%) of the public want the Palestinian side to pull out of the direct negotiations while 30% say it should not pull out of the talks. The percentage of those who demand a pull out of the talks reaches 62% in the Gaza Strip and 68% in the West Bank.

2. Government Cars:

63% support and 32% oppose the decision of the government of Salam Fayyad to withdraw government cars from senior civil servants. Support for the decision is higher in the West Bank (68%) than in the Gaza Strip (54%).

3. Conditions and Performance of Two Governments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip:

11% describe conditions in the Gaza Strip as good or very good and 70% describe them as bad or very bad. By contrast, 33% describe conditions in the West Bank as good or very good and only 34% describe them as bad or very bad.
70% say there is corruption in the PA institutions in the West Bank while only 60% say there is corruption in the institutions of the dismissed government in the Gaza Strip.
58% say there is, or there is to some extent, press freedom in the West Bank and 32% say there is no such freedom in the West Bank. But only 36% describe conditions of democracy and human rights in the PA under President Mahmud Abbas as good or very good and 33% say they are bad or very bad. Moreover, only 30% say people in the West Bank can criticize the Palestinian Authority without fear while 65% say people cannot do that without fear.
By contrast, 42% say there is, or there is to some extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip while 43% say there is no such freedom in the Gaza Strip. Moreover only 24% say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities in Gaza without fear and 66% say people cannot do that without fear.
Perceptions of safety and security are almost identical: in the Gaza Strip, 60% say they feel safe and secure in their home these days and only 40% do not feel safe and secure. In the West Bank, 61% say they feel safe and secure and 39% do not.
Positive evaluation of the performance of the PA public institutions in the West Bank reaches 43% and negative evaluation reaches 26%. By contrast, positive evaluation of the performance of the public institutions of the dismissed government in the Gaza Strip reaches 30% and negative evaluation reaches 31%.
29% say that political, security, and economic conditions force them to seek immigration to other countries. The percentage of those seeking immigration reaches 37% in the Gaza Strip and 24% in the West Bank.
Positive evaluation of the performance of the dismissed government of Ismail Haniyeh reaches 36% and negative evaluation reaches 27% while positive evaluation of the performance of the government of Salam Fayyad reaches 43% and negative evaluation reaches 25%.
Percentage of satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas reaches 51% and dissatisfaction reaches 45%. Satisfaction is higher in the West Bank (53%) than in the Gaza Strip (49%).
26% say the government of Haniyeh is the legitimate Palestinian government and 30% say the Fayyad government is the legitimate one. 30% say both governments are illegitimate and 9% say the two governments are legitimate. These results are almost identical to those obtained last June.

4. Presidency and Legislative Elections:

If new presidential elections are held today, and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive the vote of 57% and Haniyeh 36% of the vote of those participating. The rate of participation in such election would reach 61%. Last June Abbas received 54% and Haniyeh 39%. In the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 59% and Haniyeh 37% and in the West Bank Abbas receives 55% and Haniyeh 35%.
If the presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, the former would receive 65% and the latter would receive 30% of the participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this case would reache 70%. In the Gaza Strip, Barghouti receives 67% and Haniyeh 32% and in the West Bank Barghouti receives 64% and Haniyeh 28%.
Most popular figures selected by the public as possible vice presidents from a list of five provided to respondents are Marwan Barghouti (selected by 30% of the public), Ismail Haniyeh (18%), Salam Fayyad (13%) Mustafa Barghouti (11%), and Saeb Erekat (6%).
If new legislative elections are held today with the participation of all factions, 69% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who would participate, 26% say they would vote for Hamas and 45% say they would vote for Fateh, 12% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 17% are undecided. These results are identical to those obtained in June. Vote for Hamas in the West Bank (27%) is higher than the vote it receives in the Gaza Strip (24%) and vote for Fateh in the Gaza Strip (53%) is higher than it receives in the West Bank (41%). Percentage of the undecided in the West Bank reaches 19% and 14% in the Gaza Strip.

5. Future of Reconciliation after the Damascus Meeting:

In light of the latest Damascus meeting between Fateh and Hamas, the public is not optimistic about the future of unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip: 30% say the split is permanent, 51% say unity will return but only after a long time, and only 14% say unity will return soon.
Responsibility for the continued split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is placed on Hamas by 15% of the respondents and on Fateh by 11% and on both together by 66%.
But when asked about the future of the unity of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip if Hamas wins new elections, 49% say such a win would consolidate the split. But if Fateh wins, only 25% say its win would consolidate the split. Only 17% say a Hamas electoral victory would consolidate unity while 34% say a Fateh electoral victory would consolidate unity. While the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are similar in believing that a Hamas victory would consolidate the split, a major difference between respondents in the two areas emerges regarding the future of the split in the case of a Fateh victory: 25% of West Bankers say such a victory would consolidate unity while 49% of Gazans think it would consolidate unity.
Moreover, findings show that if Hams wins the next presidential and legislative elections, a majority of 86% believes this would lead to the consolidation of the siege and boycott on the Palestinian government or would keep things as they are today. But if Fateh wins the next elections, 37% believe this would lead to the tightening of the siege and blockade or would keep conditions as they are today. 56% believe that a Fateh victory would lead to the lifting of the siege and boycott and only 9% believe a Hamas victory would lead to the lifting of the siege and boycott.
In this regard, what worsens conditions for Hamas is the public belief that the two issues of national unity and ending the siege should be two of the most important Palestinian priorities. In an open question about the main problems confronting Palestinians which should be the top priorities of the PA, 26% mentioned the absence of national unity due to the split, while 15% mentioned the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings, 28% mentioned poverty and unemployment, 16% mentioned occupation and settlement activities, and 11% mentioned corruption in some public institutions.

6. Burning of Summer Camps and Tourist Installations in the Gaza Strip:

When asked who is behind the wave of burning and destruction of summer camps and tourist installations in the Gaza Strip, 19% said Hamas groups were the culprit, 11% said it was groups that have split from Hamas, 18% said it was radical Islamist groups from outside Hamas. Only 5% said Fateh groups were behind the wave of attacks while the rest said they do not know or selected other groups such as Israel (7%) or collaborators (5%).

7. Hamas’s Armed Attack on Settlers:

49% believe that Hamas’s motivation behind its latest attack on settlers near Hebron was to derail the Washington launch of the direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. 39% believe the motivation was to resist occupation and settlers. The attack led to the death of four settlers. A majority of 51% supported the Hamas attack and 44% opposed it. Support for the attack is greater in the Gaza Strip (61%) than in the West Bank where only a minority of 44% supported it. Public support for the PA security crackdown on Hamas in the aftermath of the attack did not exceed 20% with 76% opposing it.

8. Turkey Remains Popular:

In an open question about the regional country most supportive of the Palestinians, Turkey was selected by 25% of the public, remaining the most popular among respondents, followed by Egypt with 17%, Syria with 8%, and Iran and Saudi Arabia with 7% each. These results indicate a reduction in the percentage of those who selected Turkey from 43% last June and an increase of those who selected Egypt from 13% during the same period. It is worth noting that Egypt came first in the Gaza Strip with 30% selecting it.
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