CPRS Polls - Survey Research Unit
Public Opinion Poll #14
Negotiations, PNA and Opposition, Jordanian-Palestinian Relations, Elections, and the Presidency of the PNA, December 29-31, 1994
Evaluation of the Palestinian National Authority

The poll results show that 8.8% of the respondents evaluate the performance of the PNA as excellent, 22.6% as good, 29.5% as average, 15.6% as weak, and 3.1% as bad. The evaluation of the performance is more positive in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank, where 36.4% of Gaza respondents evaluated the performance as excellent or good, while only 28.2% of West Bank respondents chose one of these options. In contrast, 31.1% of West Bank respondents gave a negative evaluation, compared with 24.8% of Gaza respondents. It seems that the general evaluation of the authority tends toward a "wait and see" attitude as most Palestinians give the PNA a positive or "average" evaluation. It seems that Palestinians are giving the authority an additional chance to prove itself and also that most Palestinians are favorably disposed towards the authority because of the pressures and delays imposed upon it by Israel. During the recent period, the Palestinian authority dealt in public speeches with issues of concern to the people using a language which reflected the pulse of the street.

The poll results show that the positive evaluation of the performance of the PNA is found to a noticeable extent in the areas of Gaza Middle and Gaza City. As for the negative evaluation, it is clearly found in Jericho, Hebron, and Jerusalem, as shown in Table 10.

Table 10

Evaluation of the Performance of the PNA by Area of Residence

            Excellent   Good %      Average %   Weak %      Bad %       Don't       
            %                                                           Know %      
Nablus         04.6     26.6        26.6        21.1        08.3        12.8        
Tulkarm        07.0     19.8        33.7        18.6        09.3        11.6        
Jenin          08.0     16.0        36.0        13.3        10.7        16.0        
Jericho        15.0     05.0        35.0        25.0        20.0        ---         
R'llah         10.5     18.1        24.8        14.3        08.6        23.8        
Hebron         09.2     17.5        30.0        18.3        21.7        03.3        
Beth.          07.1     24.3        28.6        12.9        18.6        08.6        
J'lem          07.7     24.4        17.9        17.9        19.2        12.8        
Gaza North     11.0     18.0        39.0        12.0        10.0        10.0        
Gaza City      10.4     29.1        26.9        10.4        15.7        07.5        
Gaza           07.8     40.0        24.4        12.2        12.2        03.3        
Middle                                                                              
Gaza South     11.2     16.9        36.0        19.1        07.9        09.0        

Also, the negative evaluation of the PNA is higher among men than among women. With regards to education, we find 48% of college educated respondents and 60% of respondents with higher degrees evaluating the PNA negatively.

Table 11

Evaluation of the Performance of the PNA by Education

            Excellent   Good %      Average %   Weak %      Bad %       Don't       
            %                                                           Know %      
9 years        11.0     22.8        31.5        11.9        09.5        13.4        
or less                                                                             
Tawjihi        08.1     22.0        28.7        17.7        13.6        09.9        
2-Year         04.1     25.4        32.8        19.7        09.0        09.0        
college                                                                             
B.A.           06.5     21.8        22.6        18.5        27.4        03.2        
M.A. or        11.1     11.1        22.2        22.2        27.8        05.6        
PhD                                                                                 

We also find a relationship between age and evaluation of the PNA. In particularly, negative evaluation of this performance increases among the younger respondents.

Table 12

Evaluation of the Performance of the PNA by Age

            Excellent   Good %      Average %   Weak %      Bad %       Don't       
            %                                                           Know %      
35 or          08.2     21.0        30.0        16.1        16.1        08.6        
Younger                                                                             
36 or          09.4     25.3        28.7        14.9        08.7        13.0        
Older                                                                               

Not surprisingly, positive evaluation of the PNA comes largely from supporters of Fateh, whereas we find most of the supporters of opposition factions giving the authority a negative evaluation.
Participation of the Palestinian Opposition in the PNA

Most Palestinians (75%) support the participation of Hamas and other opposition groups in the PNA, by accepting ministerial appointments or positions in national institutions, compared with 17.8% who oppose the idea. The large support for the idea can be attributed to a number of factors. Many Palestinians, especially supporters of the opposition, might consider participation by the opposition parties in the authority to be a right. Also, others might see participation of the opposition as an alternative to internal conflict and a means to achieve national unity as well as a way for the opposition to assert its views from within the national institutions. Support for the idea is higher throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Support for the participation of the opposition was higher among older respondents than among younger ones, as shown by Table 13.

Table 13

Participation of Opposition Groups in the PNA by Age

                     Yes %                No %                 No Opinion %         
18-35                       71.7          22.3                 06.0                 
36+                         80.3          10.8                 08.9                 

It was noticeable that support for participation of the opposition in the PNA is significant among the opposition groups as it reaches 68.4% among Hamas supporters.

Table 14

Participation of Opposition Groups in the PNA by Political Affiliation

                     Yes %                No %                 No Opinion %         
PFLP                        51.4          41.7                 06.9                 
Fateh                       82.6          13.5                 03.9                 
Islamic Jihad               57.1          39.3                 03.6                 
PPP                         77.8          22.2                 ---                  
Hamas                       68.4          28.2                 03.4                 
DFLP                        53.3          40.0                 06.7                 
Feda                        100.0         ---                  ---                  
Islamic                     74.4          15.4                 10.2                 
Independents                                                                        
Nationalist                 75.0          09.6                 15.4                 
Independents                                                                        
Other                       84.1          04.9                 11.0                 
None of the above           69.4          11.3                 19.4                 

Elections

The poll included a number of questions concerning Palestinian attitudes regarding elections, including participation in elections, election of the PNA president, and political affiliation.

A. View of Elections

The majority of Palestinians (80.9%) preferred elections as the best means to select the members of the Palestinian "elected council." In contrast, 10% said that the PLO should appoint the members of this council and 6.1% preferred a system of appointments by quota. These results correspond with the results from previous polls, where for example in October 1994, the results indicated that 81% of the respondents preferred elections.

B. Elections Boycott or Participation

The poll results show that if the opposition groups call for a boycott of the PISGA elections, 26.4% of respondents will boycott, whereas 57.3% will participate in the elections despite the call for boycott. The results indicate that there is no significant difference between the West Bank and Gaza Strip in this regard. The intent to boycott the elections is higher in the areas of Bethlehem, Nablus, and Jerusalem, whereas the highest percentage of those intending to participate is in Jenin. (See Table 15).

Table 15

Participation in Elections by Area of Residence

                     Will Boycott %       Will Participate %   No Opinion %         
Nablus                      36.1          55.6                 08.3                 
Tulkarm                     18.8          63.5                 17.6                 
Jenin                       16.0          70.7                 13.3                 
Jericho                     25.0          65.0                 10.0                 
Ramallah                    13.3          66.7                 20.0                 
Hebron                      40.0          41.7                 18.3                 
Bethlehem                   37.7          43.5                 18.8                 
Jerusalem                   30.8          51.3                 17.9                 
Gaza North                  25.3          53.5                 21.2                 
Gaza City                   20.9          55.2                 23.9                 
Gaza Middle                 28.9          65.6                 05.6                 
Gaza South                  22.5          65.2                 12.4                 

The results of the poll indicated that more men (30%) than women (22%) will boycott the elections. At the same time, we find that the intent to boycott the elections is higher among the most educated respondents, as shown in Table 16.

Table 16

Participation in Elections by Education

                     Will Boycott %       Will Participate %   No Opinion %         
9 years or less             22.8          58.3                 18.9                 
Tawjihi                     27.5          58.1                 14.5                 
2-Year College              26.2          59.0                 14.8                 
B.A.                        33.1          54.0                 12.9                 
M.A. or PhD                 58.8          17.6                 23.6                 

Most of the supporters of the opposition factions will adhere to a boycott of elections if these factions call for one. However, 28.8% of the supporters of Hamas will participate in elections despite a call for a boycott.

Table 17

Participation in Elections by Political Affiliation

                     Will Boycott %       Will Participate %   No Opinion %         
PFLP                        73.6          22.2                 04.2                 
PPP                          ---          44.4                 55.6                 
Hamas                       57.6          28.8                 13.6                 
Feda                        11.1          88.9                 ---                  
Islamic Jihad               57.1          28.6                 14.3                 
Fateh                       08.8          81.5                 09.7                 
DFLP                        60.0          33.3                 06.7                 
Islamic                     30.8          43.6                 25.6                 
Independents                                                                        
Nationalist                 11.5          67.3                 21.2                 
Independents                                                                        
Other                       17.1          56.1                 26.8                 
None of the Above           22.4          40.0                 37.6                 

C. President of the PNA

The proposed law for Palestinian elections might call for direct popular elections for the head of the authority. Therefore, the poll repeated a question regarding a list of distinguished persons as possible candidates: Ahmed Yassin (founder of Hamas, the largest Islamic group), Yassir Arafat (PLO chairman, head of the PNA, and leader of Fateh), Hayder Abdel Shafi (an independent nationalist), and George Habash (head of the PFLP). Also, respondents were given the option of specifying another person if they chose.

The results of this poll corresponded to a large extent with what was shown in the previous poll of November 1994, where Arafat received the most support, especially in Gaza. Support for Ahmed Yassin and George Habash is slightly higher in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank. As for Hayder Abdel Shafi, his support is higher in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip.

Table 18

Comparison Between November and December Polls Regarding Election for PNA President

              Arafat %     Yassin %     Abdel Shafi %     Habash %      Others %      
Nov. 1994        44.2      19.7         08.9              06.8          20.4          
Dec. 1994        48.5      18.4         08.6              05.8          18.7          

As shown in Table 18, support for Arafat has increased in December 1994 by 4.3%. Supoprt for the other potential candidates remains relatively stable. Arafat's popularity has increased particularly in the West Bank, compared with last month where it was 37%, and has now reached 45.5%. The increasing support for Arafat among independents is an explanation for the general increase in his popularity. Support for Arafat came to a large extent from the North of the West Bank, particularly Jenin and Nablus, where we also notice an increase in support for Fateh. Despite the increase in support for Arafat in Hebron, we can still regard this area as highly competitive, since the rate of support for Arafat is the lowest there, and since the rate of suport for his competitors is relatively high. (See Table 19).

Table 19

Election for Head of the PNA by Area of Residence

              Yassin %      Arafat %      Abdel Shafi   Habash %      Other %       
                                          %                                         
Nablus            12.1      58.9          04.7          00.9          23.4          
Tulkarm           13.1      59.5          10.7          01.2          15.5          
Jenin             13.3      62.7          06.7          ---           17.3          
Jericho           15.0      50.0          15.0          05.0          15.0          
Ramallah          25.0      33.7          07.7          01.0          32.7          
Hebron            24.8      33.3          16.2          11.1          14.5          
Bethlehem         17.9      43.3          10.4          17.9          10.4          
Jerusalem         14.3      31.2          11.8          05.2          37.5          
Gaza North        18.2      48.5          06.1          13.1          14.1          
Gaza City         20.7      54.8          08.9          04.4          11.1          
Gaza Middle       16.9      58.3          04.5          07.9          12.4          
Gaza South        22.5      50.6          04.5          03.4          19.1          

The results of the poll show that support for Arafat and Yassin is higher among the least educated, whereas support for Habash and Abdel Shafi increases with education.

Table 20

Election for Head of the PNA by Education

              Yassin %    Arafat %       Abdel Shafi %      Habash %      Other %     
9 Years or       19.8     53.5           06.5               03.0          17.2        
less                                                                                  
Tawjihi          21.1     47.8           07.0               06.5          17.6        
2-Year           14.3     46.2           10.9               07.6          21.0        
College                                                                               
B.A.             10.6     39.0           14.6               10.6          25.2        
M.A. or PhD      17.6     17.6           23.5               23.5          17.6        

CPRS has polled Palestinians concerning their views on a number of possible candidates for the post of a vice-president. This question will be repeated in our next poll, which will allow for a comparative assessment of the results.

D. Political Affiliation

The poll results indicate that the popularity of Fateh is consistent with the figures obtained in the previous poll. Support for Fateh is still at 43.1%, compared with 42.3% for the previous poll. However, in the West Bank, we notice a 4% increase in the popularity of Fateh between the current and previous polls. This increase might be due to the fact that preparations for Fateh's anniversary celebrations were taking place during the polling days. Also, the presence of a number of Fateh leaders in the protest marches regarding the settlements may have increased support for the organization in the West Bank particularly. In addition, the messages conveyed by PNA leaders were becoming more in harmony with the popular sentiments in relation to settlements, prisoners, and lack of Israeli commitment, which may have influenced Fateh's popularity. The greatest increase in Fateh's popularity was in the north of the West Bank, which maintained the highest support rates, although increases were measured throughout the West Bank.

Table 21

Political Affiliation by Place of Residence

          PFLP %   Fateh %  I.      PPP %  Hamas %   DFLP %   Feda %   Isl    Nat     O'er   No one   
                            Jihad                                      Ind    Ind %   %      %        
                            %                                          %.                             
Nablus     00.9    51.9     00.9    00.9   13.9      01.9     ---      06.5   03.7    06.5   13.0     
T'lkrm      ---    48.8     ---     ---    15.5      02.4     01.2     02.4   06.0    04.8   19.0     
Jenin      01.4    62.2     02.7    01.4   08.1      01.4     ---      04.1   05.4    02.7   10.8     
Jericho    10.0    35.0     ---     05.0   15.0      ---      ---      ---    15.0    ---    20.0     
Ram.'h     03.8    26.9     02.9    01.9   18.3      01.9     01.9     06.7   05.8    19.2   10.6     
Hebron     09.2    30.8     08.3    02.5   20.0      02.5     02.5     05.8   06.7    02.5   09.2     
B'hem      14.5    37.7     04.3    ---    14.5      02.9     01.4     02.9   07.2    08.7   05.8     
J'salem    07.8    41.6     02.6    ---    11.7      01.3     01.3     05.2   03.9    03.9   20.8     
Gaza N     16.0    43.0     03.0    ---    19.0      01.0     ---      ---    04.0    06.0   08.0     
Gaza C     06.7    45.5     03.0    ---    14.2      ---      ---      03.7   05.2    11.9   09.7     
Gaza M     08.9    48.9     ---     ---    20.0      ---      ---      01.1   02.2    08.9   10.0     
Gaza S     04.5    44.3     ---     01.1   25.0      01.1     01.1     01.1   01.1    08.0   12.5     

The current poll confirms that support for Fateh is lower in the middle and the south of the West Bank than the north; that it comes more from men than women; and more from the least educated, where for example, 49% of those Palestinians with less than nine years of education declared their support for Fateh, compared with 38% of those with bachelor degrees. The poll did not indicate any significant change in the popularity of all other groups as, for example, support for Hamas is still at 16.6%. Support for this group is larger in the areas of Hebron, Ramallah, and Rafah. Support for PFLP is more in Gaza than in the West Bank. This support is higher in the middle and south of the West Bank than in the north. Among students, almost equal support goes to the opposition and to the support camps, as a coalition among Hamas, DFLP, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, and Islamic independents would get 40% of the students' vote and a coalition among Fateh, Feda, and PPP would get 42% of the vote.

Unemployment

We are able to estimate the unemployment rate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from a group of questions related to the subject of work among the respondents. We estimate from the poll results that the unemployment rate among Palestinians is at 30.5% (compared with 38% last month). As expected, the unemployment rate is lower in the West Bank (21.5%) than the Gaza Strip where it is as high as 44%. To reach to this estimate, we used the definition of unemployment suggested by the International Labor Organization (ILO) which defines the "unemployed" as those who were not engaged in any paying work during the week preceding the poll, who wished to work, and were looking for work during the time.

The unemployment rate increases if we include those who are part of the labor force and wish to work, but are discouraged to look for it In this case the unemployment rate in both the West bank and Gaza reaches 42.8%; in the West Bank 35% and in the Gaza Strip 54%.

The results of the poll show that 81% of those employed have full-time jobs (36 hours or more per week), and 19% have part-time jobs, as they work less than 36 hours per week. A total of 59% of those who declared their desire to work are actually looking for a job; the rest are discouraged workers who have no incentive to look for work. The poll shows that 79% of the unemployed are men and 21% are women. The unemployment rate is high among the young as 74% of the unemployed are less than 36 years old.


Appendix

1. With regard to the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and given the current
framework of circumstances, I support...
                                             Total  West Bank Gaza 
a. stopping negotiations permanently          20.6%   23.3%   16.3%
b. suspending negotiations until              31.5%   32.6%   29.8%
Israel abides by the DoP.
c. continuing negotiations                    38.7%   35.7%   43.5%
d. no opinion                                 09.2%   08.4%   10.3%
2. With regard to future Palestinian-Jordanian relations, I support the 
establishment of ...
a. Two independent states:                    64.5%   59.8%   71.9%
Palestine and Jordan.
b. Complete unity between Palestine           18.5%   22.6%   11.9%
and Jordan.
c. Confederation between Palestine            14.4%   15.3%   13.1%
and Jordan.
d. Other (Specify)                            02.6%   02.3%   03.1%
3. With regard to the events at the Palestine Mosque in Gaza on Friday 
November 18, 1994 which resulted in the deaths of 13 Palestinians and the 
wounding of 250, I believe the responsibility for these events lies with...
a. Israel                                     32.7%   34.9%   29.1%
b. Hamas and other Palestinian                07.1%   07.0%   07.3%
opposition groups.
c. the Palestinian National Authority         18.4%   19.5%   16.5%
d. all of the above                           28.7%   31.6%   24.3%
e. other parties (specify)                    13.1%   07.0%   22.8%
4. What is your evaluation of the performance of the Palestinian National
Authority?
a. Excellent                                  08.8%   08.0%   10.1%
b. Good                                       22.6%   20.2%   26.3%
c. Average                                    29.5%   28.4%   31.2%
d. Weak                                       15.6%   17.2%   13.0%
e. Bad                                        13.1%   13.9%   11.8%
f. Don't Know                                 10.4%   12.3%   07.6%
5. Do you support the participation of Hamas and other Palestinian
opposition groups in the Palestinian National Authority (i.e. accepting 
ministerial appointments and entering the various PNA institutions)?
a. Yes                                        75.0%   74.0%   76.6%
b. No                                         17.8%   18.1%   17.4%
c. No opinion                                 07.2%   07.9%   06.0%
6. In your opinion, what is the best way to choose the members of the 
"Palestinian Council" of the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority?
a. Appointment by PLO leadership             10.0%   10.5%   09.2%
b. Appointment by political groups           06.1%   04.1%   09.2%
on a quota basis.
c. Political Elections                       80.9%   82.6%   79.2%
d. Other                                     03.0%   02.8%   03.4%
7. If the Palestinian opposition calls for a boycott of elections for the
 National Authority Council, I...
a. will boycott the elections                26.4%   27.9%   24.0%
b. will participate in the elections         57.3%   56.0%   59.3%
c. No opinion                                16.3%   16.1%   16.7%
8. In a statement released by the "Local Government and Elections Commission" 
it was reported that the proposed Palestinian electoral law will state that 
the head of the Palestinian Authority will be elected directly by the people. 
If a separate election for the head of the National Authority takes place, 
and the following nominate themselves, I will choose...
a. Ahmed Yassin                              18.4%   17.7%   19.6% 
b. Yassir Arafat                             48.5%   45.5%   53.3%
c. Hayder Abdel Shafi                        08.6%   10.0%   06.3%
d. George Habash                             05.8%   05.1%   07.0%
e. Other (Specify)                           18.7%   21.7%   13.8%
9. If elections were to be held today, and you decided to participate, you 
would vote for candidates affiliated with:
a. PFLP                                      06.7%   05.3%   09.0%
b. Fateh                                     43.1%   41.5%   45.5%
c. Islamic Jihad                             02.6%   03.2%   01.7%
d. PPP                                       00.8%   01.2%   00.2%
e. Hamas                                     16.6%   15.1%   18.9%
f. DFLP                                      01.4%   02.0%   00.5%
g. Feda                                      00.8%   01.2%   00.2%
h. Islamic independents                      03.7%   04.9%   01.7%
i. Nationalist independents                  04.9%   05.8%   03.4%
j. Other (specify)                           07.7%   06.9%   09.0%
k. None of the above                         11.7%   12.9%   09.9% 

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