JERUSALEM (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s approval rating has plunged in recent weeks but his secular Fatah party remains more popular than the Islamist Hamas group, a poll said Sunday.
Palestinian confidence in Abbas has dropped to 12.1 percent compared to 17.8 percent in June, according to the poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC).
When asked whom they would vote for if presidential elections were held in 2010, Abbas polled roughly the same as Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya and Marwan Barghuti, a Fatah leader serving five life sentences in Israel.
All three men would win the votes of 16-17 percent of those polled.
Meanwhile Abbas’s Fatah party remains far more popular than Hamas, with 40 percent saying they would vote for Fatah in the next general elections compared to 18.7 percent who said they would vote for Hamas.
Egypt has called on Hamas to ink a reconciliation agreement already signed by Fatah that would see presidential and parliamentary elections held on June 28, 2010, while Abbas has said that if Hamas fails to accept the deal he will call for elections on January 24 in accordance with the Palestinian law.
Abbas’s decision earlier this month to support postponing the consideration of a report on the Gaza war in the UN Human Rights Council sparked outrage across Palestinian society, especially from Hamas, which accused him of betraying the victims of the three-week conflict at the turn of the year.
The 47-member council last week voted to approve the so-called Goldstone report after Abbas reversed course and began actively lobbying for the document, which accuses both Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes.
The JMCC poll also found widespread disenchantment with Washington’s push to restart the Middle East peace process.
The poll found that 58.4 percent of Palestinians do not believe the policies of US President Barack Obama will make any difference, with just 23.7 percent saying they would improve the chances of reaching a peace agreement and 12.9 percent saying they would diminish them.
The poll was conducted among 1,200 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza from October 7-11 and had a margin of error of 3.0 percent.