Armed Attacks, Palestinian-Jordanian Relations, Negotiations, Elections and Other Issues of Concern
This is the nineteenth public opinion poll conducted by the Survey Research Unit (SRU) at the Center for Palestine Research and Studies. The SRU has been conducting regular public opinion polls to document an important phase in the history of the Palestinian people and to record the reactions of the Palestinian community with regard to current political events. CPRS does not adopt political positions and does not tolerate politically motivated attempts to influence the conclusions reached or published. CPRS is committed to providing a scholarly contribution to analysis and objective study and to publishing the results of all our studies and research. Poll results provide a vital resource for the community and for researchers needing statistical information and analysis. The polls give members of the community opportunity to voice their opinion and to seek to influence decision makers on issues of concern to them. This poll focuses on prospects for peace, direction of the Palestinian society, the PNA performance, armed attacks, elections, and political affiliation. The main findings are:
- A majority of Palestinians (59.5%) do not expect a lasting peace with Israel; only 23% expect a lasting peace.
- Respondents were equally divided as to whether or not Palestinian society is headed in the correct direction: 32.6% affirm the present direction and 28.9% question it.
- A majority of 97.1% believe the PNA must guarantee freedom of speech.
- A total of 37.4% of respondents support a form of unity with Jordan and 61.2% support two independent states.
- A total of 49.5% were optimistic about the future compared to 28.8% who said they were pessimistic.
- Support for the continuation of peace negotiations is at 70.6%.
- About 70% of Palestinians support armed attacks against Israeli army targets and against settlers, while less than 19% support attacks against other civilians.
- Most Palestinians feel their economic situation or standard of living has either gotten worse (43.5%) or stayed the same (45.2%).
- About 39% of Palestinians feel that the performance of the PNA is above average.
- Support for Arafat is at 53.7%, and Fateh is at 43.2%.
- A large majority (86.3%) believe that political elections offer the best means to choose the members of PISGA.
- 74.1% say that they will participate in the elections if and when they occur.
Enclosed are the results of the current public opinion poll that has been conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (See Appendix), including a summary of the analysis of the results. For the full text of the poll or for further information, please contact Dr. Khalil Shikaki or the coordinator of SRU, Dr. Nader Izzat Sa'id, at Tel (09) 380383/381619 - Fax (09) 380384.
The period preceding this poll was marked by increasing provocations by settlers as they occupied a number of mountain tops around the West Bank and succeeded in closing several roads. The negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis faced problems especially regarding the issue of withdrawal from Hebron. Two suicide bombings were carried out against Israeli targets in Ramat Gan and Jerusalem resulting in the death of eleven Israelis. The Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority arrested a large number of Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were under tightened closures on several occasions. The PNA issued an order to close two newspapers supportive of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. In this period, Jerusalem was the focus of many observers as settlers and the Jewish city council waged a campaign against Palestinian institutions in the city, resulting in confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis.
The present poll is part of a larger survey of social and political attitudes that includes 300 items, the results of which will be published in the near future. The results of this survey will be the basis for a large number of scholarly research papers on political and social attitudes among Palestinians. For the purpose of this survey, some adjustments had to be made in the research methodology. More specifically, the selection of the respondents in the household was based on a table designed by CPRS researchers to guarantee the representation of all ages, education levels, and men and women. Our system resulted in the over representation of educated Palestinians as 40% of the respondents had more than 12 years of education. To adjust the sample, we had to weight for education by deflating the percentage of the educated sample.
The questionnaire was designed through consultations with experts. A pre-test involving fifty questionnaires was conducted in the Nablus area prior to the poll. The questionnaire instrument includes a large number of demographic variables as indicated in the section on sample distribution.
Household Sample Selection
SRU researchers adopted a multi-stage sample selection process. The process of sample selection began with the creation of lists of all locations in the West Bank and Gaza according to district, population size and distribution, and type of locality (city, town, village, and refugee camp). A simple random sample of locations to be surveyed was selected from these lists. Fieldworkers and researchers created maps for these localities. These maps indicated the boundaries, main streets, and clusters of residential neighborhoods in these localities which were further divided into a number of sampling units (blocks) with each unit comprising an average of two hundred housing units. The sample units (blocks) to be surveyed were selected randomly.
(Expressed as a % of the total sample / Data is not weighted in this table)
*Specialists (University teacher, engineer, doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, executive)
**Employees(school teacher, government employee, nurse, lower-level company employee)
--Population Estimates are based on the "Statistical Abstract of Israel" (1993), FAFO(1993), and Palestinian Statistical Bureau, 1995.
Households were selected based on a systematic sampling framework. For example, if the fieldworker estimated the number of houses in the sampling unit to be one hundred and is assigned five interviews, the fieldworker divided the 100 by 5, obtaining 20. Therefore, the fieldworker would conduct the first interview in the 20th house, and the secin the 40th, and so on. Fieldworkers were asked to start their sample selection of housing units from a well-defined point in the area such as a post office, mosque, business, etc. They were asked to report on the direction of their sampling walks. Fieldworkers played an active role in drawing the maps for the localities in the sample and in estimating the number of houses in each block. We received 740 questionnaires from the West Bank and 449 from Gaza, representing a total of 1190 interviews with Palestinians 18 years or older....More