Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Hamas movement enjoys greater support than the Fatah Movement, according to a recent Palestinian opinion poll.
For the first time since 2006 some 40 percent of those polled said they prefer Hamas’s approach in dealing with the Palestine issue, while 33 percent preferred Fatah’s approach, and 27 percent had no preference.
It is worth mentioning that the percentage of those who prefer the Hamas movements approach is higher in the West Bank, and the opposite is true in the Gaza Strip as 42 percent of the people of the West Bank prefer Hamas (28 percent for Fatah) compared with 40 percent for Fatah (37 percent for Hamas) in Gaza.
The opinion poll conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) on the 1st and 2nd of December, which covered a random sample of 1,200 people of both genders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and with 3 percent margin of error , showed that 85 percent of the Palestinians consider the UN vote for Palestine as an observer state in the United Nations a victory for the Palestinian cause, but at the same time, 43 percent of them believe that this step will not lead to real changes on the ground.
As for the Israeli aggression on Gaza, 90 percent of those polled said that halting the aggression on Gaza through a quiet agreement is considered “a victory” for the Palestinians, and 50 percent of them believe that this “victory” will not lead to real changes on the ground.
The results also showed that the majority of those polled are more optimistic and positive after resisting the latest aggression on Gaza, as 88 percent of them said that the armed struggle is an effective means for achieving the Palestinian independence and 73 percent believe that the situation of the Palestine issue will improve, while 17 percent believe otherwise.
According to the poll, the sense of victory has led to stronger support for Palestinians reconciliation and national unity as 87 percent expressed their optimism about this issue.
The “victory” in Gaza and the “victory” at the United Nations seem to improve the viewpoints of those polled toward the Palestinian leadership as 89 percent of them said that their viewpoints on Hamas have improved or have improved to some extent, while approval of the Fatah movement was at 81 percent.
Those opposed to the negotiations have emerged stronger (49 percent) compared with 44 percent last July while the supporters of these negotiations were 45 percent and those who support them were 50 percent in the same month. As for the two state-solutions, the results showed that those opposed have the upper hand at 50 percent while the supporters are at 47 percent. At the same time, the results showed that the people of Gaza are more supportive of the two-state solution with a percentage of 51 percent compared with the people of the West Bank (44 percent).
A large majority (78 percent) supported holding the legislative elections, but the support for it was greater in Gaza (85 percent) compared with the West Bank (74 percent). As for the presidential elections, 76 percent supported holding them, and this support was greater in Gaza (85 percent) than that in the West Bank (70 percent).
In a race that may involve 12 candidates for the presidential elections, including four from Fatah, four from Hamas, three independent and leftist figures, and a representative of the Islamic Jihad, President Mahmud Abbas received the higher votes, while Hamas’s Ismail Haniya enjoyed a spike in popularity. Even in the case of a competition between the 12 figures, Abbas will get 25 percent of the votes, followed by Ismail Haniya with a rate of 18 percent, Marwan al-Barghuthi 12 percent, Khalid Mishal 6 percent, and the rest of the leaders will get 4 percent or less
However, 25 percent of those polled said that they do not want to vote or have not decided yet. In case all the votes for Fatah candidates are counted, they would collectively get 40 percent, while Hamas’s candidates would get 25 percent.
Meanwhile, the results of the opinion polls showed important changes in the evaluation of the government’s performance concerning the two governments in the West Bank and Gaza. For the first time since 2009, Haniya’s sacked government received a better assessment than the government of Salam Fayyad, as 39 percent believed that the performance of Haniya’s government is positive and 36 percent consider its performance moderate, and 16 percent consider it negative (a decline by 28 percent, i.e. from 44 percent in the opinion poll conducted in March 2011).
When those polled were asked to choose between one of the two governments to run the area in which they live, 34 percent said that they choose Haniya’s government while 25 percent chose Fayyad’s government, but the majority of those polled (41 percent) said that they do not prefer any of the two governments or are unsure.