New poll shows "unprecedented" surge in Palestinian support for Hamas and its methods

Latest Palestinian poll shows Hamas would win presidential and parliamentary elections, with majority in West Bank wanting to emulate Hamas's "armed struggle" against Israelis

by the commentator on 4 September 2014 07:32

Hamas-rockets

In a new opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has produced a set of findings indicating sharply increased popularity among ordinary Palestinians for Hamas and its strategies that will cause deep concern to moderate Palestinian factions, Israel, and the international community.

The poll was conducted among a representative sample of 1,270 adults with a margin of error of plus/minus three percent from 26-30 August 2014, in the wake of the eruption of the latest bloody conflict in Gaza.

Summarising the findings, details of which are below, PSR said:

"It is worth noting that the size of the change in favor of Hamas is unprecedented since 2006. Indeed, if presidential elections were to take place today, [Hamas Prime Minister] Ismail Haniyeh would easily win over [Palestinian Authority President] Abbas and Hamas would win the largest percentage of the popular vote in parliamentary elections....

"...Indeed, an overwhelming majority of West Bankers [70%] wants to transfer “Hamas’ way” to the West Bank and rejects the demand to disarm the Islamist group or to disband the other Gazan armed groups. Findings also indicate that the public see Iran, Turkey, and Qatar as the most instrumental in supporting Hamas..."

It is also noteworthy for any resumption of the peace process that Hamas is now more popular in the West Bank than Abbas's Fatah. Also, the largest single group of Palestinians questioned (32%) believe that it was Israel that carried out the kidnapping and killing of the three Israelis that sparked the current round of hostilities.

Selected findings from the survey, which, to repeat, and unless stated, are from both the West Bank and Gaza combined, are as follows:

** 79% believe that Hamas has won the Gaza War; 3% believe Israel came out the winner; and 17% believe the two sides were losers.

** An overwhelming majority of 86% support the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel if the siege and blockade are not ended.

** 60% say that Hamas does not launch rockets from populated areas, but 30% say it does.

** 49% think it is justified for Hamas to launch rockets from populated areas and 46% disagree with that. Percentage of those who believe that launching rockets from populated areas is unjustified increases to 59% among Gazans while standing at 38% among West Bankers.

** Only 30% believe that Hamas should warn Israeli civilians in the specific targeted areas before launching its rockets; 68% believe it should not do so.

** 94% are satisfied with Hamas’ military performance in confronting Israeli forces; 78% are satisfied with its defense of civilians in Gaza; and 89% are satisfied with its media and communication performance.

** If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated, Haniyeh, for the first time since we have started asking about his popularity about 8 years ago, would receive a majority of 61% and Abbas would receive 32%. Vote for Haniyeh stands at 53% in the Gaza Strip and 66% in the West Bank.

** Abbas receives 43% in the Gaza Strip and 25% in the West Bank. Two months ago, Abbas received the support of 53% in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Haniyeh 41%. The rate of participation in such elections would reach 71%.

** If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all factions, 78% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who would participate, 46% say they would vote for Hamas and 31% say they would vote for Fatah, 7% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 17% are undecided.

** Two months ago, vote for Hamas stood at 32% and for Fatah at 40%. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 44% and in the West Bank at 47%. Vote for Fatah in the Gaza Strip stands in this poll at 36% and in the West Bank at 27%.

** The public is divided over the two-state solution: 49% support it and 50% oppose it. In our last poll two months ago, 54% supported this solution and 46% opposed it.

** A majority of 53% believe that armed confrontation is the most effective means to establish a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel. Only 22% believe negotiation is the best means to establish a Palestinian state and 20% believe that popular non-violent resistance is the most effective route to statehood.

** ... a majority of 54% supported the killing of the three kidnapped Israelis and 42% opposed it. Support for the killing reached 69% in the Gaza Strip and only 42% in the West Bank. 52% of the West Bankers opposed the killing of the three kidnapped Israelis.

** The public is divided over the identity of those who carried out the kidnapping and the killing of the three Israelis: 32% accuse Israel, 30% accuse Hamas, 21% believe a Palestinian acted on his own, and 2% accuse Fatah.

** 72% favors the transfer of Hamas’ armed approach to the West Bank. Support for emulating Hamas in the West Bank stands at 70% among West Bankers and 74% among Gazans.

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