23 January - 03 February 2008 

These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 23 January and 3 February 2008. This period witnessed the forced opening of the Rafah Crossings by Hamas and the march of hundreds of thousands of Gazans across the border with Egypt.  Total size of the sample is 3430 adults (2198 in the West Bank and 1232 in the Gaza Strip) interviewed face to face in 245 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 2%. 

For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email pcpsr@pcpsr.org

Main Findings: 

Findings indicate a clear increase in the popularity of Hamas compared to that of Fateh. This is the first time since March 2006 in which we witness an increase in Hamas’s popularity. The increase reflects public appreciation, particularly in the Gaza Strip, of Hamas’s role in forcing open the borders of the Gaza Strip with Egypt. But the improved standing of Hamas does not mean public acceptance of its military takeover of the Gaza Strip as the overwhelming majority continues to reject Hamas’s June 2007 violent takeover. 

  •  Hamas’s popularity increases from 31% to 34% and Fateh’s drops from 49% to 46% in one month between December 2007 and January 2008. In the Gaza Strip, the popularity of Hamas increases from 33% to 39% and the popularity of Fateh decreases from 52% to 46% during the same period. 
  •  The popularity of Mahmud Abbas stands at 51% and Ismail Haniyeh at 43%. In the Gaza Strip, Abbas’s popularity stands at 50% and Haniyeh’s at 46%. If the competition is between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, the former receives the support of 60% and the latter 35%. In the Gaza Strip, Barghouti receives 56% and Haniyeh 42%. In December 2007, Abbas’s popularity stood at 56% and Haniyeh’s at 37%. 
  •   Satisfaction with the performance of Abbas drops from 50% last December to 46% in this poll. Satisfaction with the performance of Ismail Haniyeh stands at 44%. In the Gaza Strip, satisfaction with the performance of Haniyeh is greater than satisfaction with the performance of Abbas; the former receives 52% and the latter 48%. 
  •  Positive evaluation of the performance of the government of Ismail Haniyeh reaches 37% compared to 36% for the performance of the government of Salam Fayyad. In the Gaza Strip, positive evaluation of the performance of Haniyeh’s government stands at 43% and Fayyad’s 37%. 
  • 31% of the public believes that Haniyeh’s government is the one that has legitimacy while 33% say Fayyad’s government is the one that has legitimacy. 24% say the two governments lack legitimacy and 8% say the two governments are legitimate. In the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh’s government is perceived as more legitimate (35%) than Fayyad’s (33%).  In December 2007, only 27% said Haniyeh’s government was legitimate and 37% said Fayyad’s government was legitimate. 
  •  Despite improvement in Hamas’s public standing, the majority (72%) still opposes its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip; only a quarter supports it. In the Gaza Strip, opposition to Hamas’s takeover stands at 67% and support at 31%. 
  •  The public says that conditions in the West Bank are better than conditions in the Gaza Strip in the realms of economy (4% for Gaza and 43% for the West Bank), enforcement of law and order (28% for Gaza and 54% for the West Bank), democracy and freedom of the press (27% for Gaza and 51% for the West Bank), and personal safety and security (54% for Gaza and 61% for the West Bank). 
  •   42% support the stand taken by Abbas and Fateh regarding return to dialogue with Hamas while 35% support the stand taken by Hamas.  Support for Abbas and Fateh’s stand stood at 46% last December and support for Hamas’s stood at 27%.