The Peace Process, Donors' Support, Domestic Conditions, Elections for the President and Vice President, Political Affiliation, Home and Mobile Phones, Computers, and Internet, and Satellite and TV Stations
24-26 February 2000
These are the results of opinion poll # 47, conducted by the Center for Palestine Research & Studies, between 24-26 February 2000. The poll deals with the peace process, Donors' support, domestic conditions, elections for the President and vice president and political affiliation, and home and mobile phones, computers and Internet, and satellite and TV stations. The total sample size of this poll is 1318 from Palestinians 18 years and older, of which 823 in the West Bank and 495 in the Gaza Strip. The margin of error is + 3% and the non-response rate is 3%.
1. The Peace Process
- 70% support the current peace process and 26% oppose it
- Support for armed attacks against Israeli targets decreases from 43% to 39% and opposition to violence increases to 53%
- Only 31% believe that it is possible to reach a mutually acceptable permanent settlement to all final status negotiations
- Level of confidence in Barak's government continues to drop to reach 14%
- 49% support the establishment of a Palestinian state in September 2000 even without an agreement with Israel, while 37% prefer to wait until a mutual Israeli-Palestinian agreement is reached
The results indicate that support for the current Palestinian-Israeli peace process remains high at 70%, with a drop of 3 percentage points compared to the results of January 2000. Support for the peace process stood at 75% three months ago. On the other hand, support for violence has dropped from 43% last January to 39% in this poll. Support for violence stood at 36% three months ago. In this poll, opposition to violence has increased to 53%.
Confidence in Barak's government continue to deteriorate dropping from 16% to 14%. This percentage stood at 18% three months ago and at 29% last July. Similarly, the percentage of those who believe in the possibility of reaching a mutually acceptable settlement to all final status issues dropped from 35% last September to 31% today.
These developments may explain the rise in public support for the unilateral establishment of a Palestinian state at the termination of the interim period in September 2000 from 43% last April to 49% in this poll. The percentage of those who support the postponement of such a declaration until an agreement is reached with Israel reached 37% in this poll compared to 48% in April 1999. Support for the unilateral establishment of the state increases in the areas of Khan Younis (60%) and Bethlehem (56%) compared to the area of Jerusalem, among men (53%) compared to women (45%), among holders of BA degree (50%) compared to illiterates (46%), among students (56%) compared to housewives (44%) and the unemployed (43%), among those with the highest income (57%) compared to those with the lowest income (50%), and among supporters of Fateh (56%) and Hamas (55%) compared to those who are not affiliated with any known factions or groups (41%).
- The European Community and its member states are seen by most Palestinians as the most contributing to the development of the Palestinian economy in the views of 25%, followed by Japan (13%), the US (11%), International Organizations (10%), and Arab Countries (8%)
- 46% see positive impact for donors' support on Palestinian conditions while 17% see a negative impact
- Most important areas of donors' support in Palestinian eyes are education (26%), health (20%), and water (16%)
- Least important areas of donors' support are women programs, police and security, roads, democracy programs, and institution building
The EU and its member states are seen by more Palestinians (25% in this poll compared to 23% last September) as contributing the most to the Palestinian economy. The second most contributing donor is Japan (13% compared to 15% last September) followed by the US (11% compared to 10% last September).
About 17% of the respondents view donors' support negatively, while 46% believe that it has a positive impact on Palestinian conditions. These results may indicate an improvement in donors' perception among Palestinians as only 42% viewed it positively last September.
The results show that most Palestinians believe that the most important donors' support is the one invested in areas of education, health and water (26%, 20%, and 16% respectively). Areas of least importance to Palestinians are those related to women programs, police and security, roads, democracy, and institution building. No significant differences between the West Bank and Gaza have been detected except in the areas of health, viewed as being important by more Gazans (23%) than West Bankers (17%), and sewage, viewed as being important by more Gazans (9%) than West Bankers (3%).
These results are similar to those obtained last September and early 1999. The priorities are still the same, focusing on major traditional developmental needs, with less interest in socio-political issues such as those related to women and democracy.
3. Domestic Conditions:
- 43% describe their conditions during the past three years as being better than now and 25% describe them as worse than now
- A majority of 56% is optimistic about its future economic conditions during the next three years while 27% are pessimistic
- 26% say that current Palestinian conditions force them to consider permanent emigration
- 60% believe that corruption exits in PA institutions and 33% believe it exists in NGOs
- Among those who believe in the existence of corruption in PA institutions, 64% believe that it will increase or remain the same in the future, and 81% believe that it exists in ministries, 73% in police and security services, 53% in the PLC, and 43% in the office of the presidency
- 86% believe that wasta (personal and family connection) is essential for obtaining employment
- Positive evaluation of Palestinian democracy stands at 28% compared to 68% for Israel, 55% for the US, 46% for France, 28% for Jordan, and 25% for Egypt
- 62% believe that people can not criticize the PA without fear
- About one third of the respondents (31%) describes their economic conditions during the past three years as being unchanged, while 43% believe
About one third of the respondents (31%) describes its economic condition during the past three years as being unchanged, while 43% believe that it was better than now. Only 25% describe their economic condition during the past three years as being worse than it is today. In other words, about 74% of the respondents do not see improvement in their economic conditions with the passage of time. Despite this, more than half of the respondents (56%) are optimistic about its future economic condition while the percentage of pessimists does not exceed 27%. Although this percentage is almost identical with the percentage of those who are considering permanent emigration (26%), many optimists (22% of all optimists) are also considering emigration. This result indicates that the desire for emigration is not motivated by economic consideration alone. The desire to emigrate is stronger in the Gaza Strip (29%) than in the West Bank (24%).
The results show that 60% of the respondents (compared to 63% last January) believe that corruption exists in PA institutions. A drop has also occurred in the percentage of those who believe that corruption exists in Palestinian NGOs during the same period from 41% to 33%. But the percentage of those who believe that corruption will increase or remain the same in the future remained unchanged at 64%. Among those who believe that corruption exists in PA institutions, 81% see it in ministries, 73% in police and security services, 53% in the PLC, and 43% in the office.
The most troubling finding is the continued existence of a consensus among respondents that wasta (personal and family connection) is essential, in one way or another, for obtaining employment. Only 8% believe that wasta is not needed, while 64% believe that it is needed to a large extent and 22% believe that it is needed to some extent. It is worth mentioning that the belief that wasta is needed to a large extent increases especially in the Gaza Strip (75%) compared to the West Bank (57%), while the belief that no wasta is needed is almost absent in the Gaza Strip (2%) compared to the West Bank (11%).
Perception of the status of Palestinian democracy has not changed much since the beginning of the year, standing today at 28% (compared to 31% in January). The belief that people can not criticize the PA without fear remained also unchanged during the same period standing today at 62% (compared to 63% in January)
4. Elections for the President, and vice-President and Political Affiliation
- In elections for the presidency, Yassir Arafat receives 47% of the vote, Haidar Abdul Shafi 9%, and Ahmad Yasin 10%
- In elections for the vice-presidency among eight candidates, Abdul Shafi receives the largest percentage (15%) followed by Sa'eb Erikat (7%), Faisal al Husseini (6%), Ahmad Qurie', Mahmud Abbas, and Hanan Ashrawi (5% each), Farouq al Qaddumi (4%), and Nabil Sha'ath (3%).
- In elections for the vice-presidency among four candidates only, Abdul Shafi receives the largest percentage (38%) followed by al Husseini (20%), and Ahmad Qurie' and Mahmud Abbas (14% each)
- Fateh receives the support of 36%, Hamas 10%, PFLP 4%, and the non-affiliated 41%
The results indicate that no change has taken place in the popularity of Yassir Arafat compared to the situation last January, standing today at 47%. The popularity of Haidar Abdul Shafi remains also stable at 9% and Ahmad Yasin at 10%. As in previous surveys, Arafat's popularity increases in the Gaza Strip (54%) and decreases in the West Bank (42%). Abdul Shafi's popularity increases also in the Gaza Strip (12%) and decreases in the West Bank (7%). Conversely, Ahmad Yassin's popularity increases in the West Bank (12%) and decreases in the Gaza Strip (7%).
In a competition for the vice-presidency among eight candidates, Abdul Shafi receives the largest percentage of votes (15%) followed by Sa'eb Erikat (7%), Faisal al Husseini (6%), Ahmad Qurie', Mahmud Abbas, and Hanan Ashrawi (5% each), Farouq Qaddumi (4%), and Nabil Sha'ath (3%). Abdul Shafi's popularity increases as usual in the Gaza Strip (24%) and decreases in the West Bank (10%).
In a competition for the office of the vice-presidency among four candidates only, Abdul Shafi receives the largest percentage of votes (38%) followed by al Husseini (20%), and Ahmad Qurie' and Mahmud Abbas (14% each). In this competition, Abdul Shafi remains the most popular in the West Bank, followed by al Husseini (26%), Ahmad Qurie' (16%) and Mahmud Abbas (14%).
Fateh's popularity stands today at 36% with a drop of two percentage points from the January 2000 poll. Hamas popularity remains stable at 10%, while Islamic Jihad stands at 3% and the PFLP at 4%.
5. Home and Mobile Phones, Computers and Internet, and Satellites and TV Stations
- Home phone ownership continues to increase from 45% last September to 52% today, and mobile phones from 29% to 39%
- Satellite dish ownership continues to increase from 38% last September to 44% today
- Al Jazeera satellite TV station is watched by 47% of dish owners, followed by MBC TV (17%), Egyptian TV (11%), ART TV (7%), and LBC TV (5%)
- Home computer ownership stands at 13%, home internet subscription at 6%, and office internet subscription at 5%
The results show an increase in the percentage of home phone ownership from 45% last September to 52% in this poll. Home phone ownership stood at 42% in January 1999. Home phones are found mostly in cities (59%) compared to refugee camps (45%) and villages and towns (49%).
Similarly, the results show continued increase in the percentage of mobile phone ownership from 29% last September to 40% in this poll. Mobile phone ownership stood at 21% in January 1999. The percentage of mobile phone ownership increases in the West Bank (50%) compared to the Gaza Strip (24%). This may be due to the difficulties in obtaining home phones in some rural areas of the West Bank thereby forcing people to rely on mobile phones instead. This can be seen in the increased percentage of mobile phone ownership in villages and towns (47%) compared to cities (34%) and refugee camps (30%).
An increase in the percentage of satellite dish ownership has also been recorded in this poll from 38% last September to 44% now. Twenty months ago, this percentage stood at 27%. Dish ownership increases in the Gaza Strip (51%) compared to the West Bank (40%), in refugee camps (51%) and cities (49%) compared to villages and towns (39%), and among those with the highest income (67%) compared to those with the lowest income (33%).
Al Jazeera TV is the most watched station among the owners of dishes with 47% viewership (compared to 51% last September) followed by MBC TV (17% compared to 6% last September), Egypt TV (11%, same as last September), ART TV (7% compared to 9 last September), and finally, LBC TV (5% compared to 4% last September).
Home computer ownership remained stable at 13% (compared to 12% last September), while home internet subscription dropped from 14% last September to 6% in this poll. Office internet subscription remained stable at 5%. More