Monday, June 20, 2011
PSR poll: 40% of Gazans seek to emigrate, 66% of Palestinians: Top two goals include right of refugees to return to Israel
20 June 2011
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (40)
Fateh-Hamas reconciliation agreement improves the standing of Hamas, but the
public prefers Fayyad as prime minister to Hamas’ candidate and wants the
new government to follow Abbas’ and the PLO’s peace policy rather than Hamas’
16-18 June 2011
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 16-18 June 2011. The poll was conducted after the signing of the
reconciliation agreement between Fateh and Hamas and during the continued
turmoil and revolt in the Arab World including the popular uprisings in
Syria, Yemen and Libya. This press release covers Palestinian domestic
conditions, the performance of the governments of Salam Fayyad and Ismail
Haniyeh, the internal balance of power between Fateh and Hamas, the future
of the reconciliation agreement, and the views of the public on the most
vital Palestinian goals and the most serious problems confronting
Palestinians today. Total size of the sample is 1200 adults interviewed face
to face in 120 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%. While
this press release covers domestic Palestinian issues, other issues related
to the peace process and Israeli-Palestinian relations will be covered in a
separate joint Palestinian-Israeli press release and later in our more
detailed report on the poll.
For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid
Ladadweh at tel 02-296 4933 or email email@example.com.
Findings of the second quarter of 2011 show that the reconciliation
agreement between Fateh and Hamas has triggered important changes in public
attitudes and perceptions. Indeed, the agreement has removed, almost
completely, the issue of the split between West Bank and the Gaza Strip from
the list of critical problems in the minds of the public. But the fading of
the problem of the split led to the emergence of a new problem: the concern
that the agreement, once implemented, and a majority believes that it will
indeed be implemented, it will bring back international political and
financial sanctions and boycott. For this reason, and while findings show
that Hamas has benefited considerably from signing the agreement, a clear
majority of the public wants the new Palestinian government of specialists,
once formed, to implement the president’s and the PLO’s peace program and
policy rather than that of Hamas. Most importantly, the largest percentage
wants Salam Fayyad, Fateh’s candidate, to be the next prime minister.
Indeed, only a small minority wants Jamal Khodari, Hamas’ candidate, to be
the next prime minister. Perhaps the public believes that if Fayyad stays as
prime minister and if he continues to implement Abbas’s peace agenda and
policies, the threat of boycott and sanctions would diminish or disappear.
(1) The future of the reconciliation agreement:
A majority of 59% believes that Fateh and Hamas will succeed in implementing
the reconciliation agreement and in unifying the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip while 37% believe they will fail.
A majority of 55% expects the return of international boycott and financial
sanctions after the formation of a new reconciliation government and 37% do
not expect that.
In a choice between Fateh’s candidate, Salam Fayyad, and Hamas’ candidate,
Jamal Khodari, 45% of the public favors the former and only 22% favor the
latter. 12% favor other candidates and 21% remain undecided.
Moreover, a majority of 61% wants the new government of reconciliation to
follow the peace policies and agendas of President Abbas and the PLO rather
than Hamas’. Only 18% want the new government to follow the peace policy and
agenda of Hamas.
Half of the public (50%) says that both Fateh and Hamas came out winners
from the reconciliation agreement, 12% say Hamas came out the winner, 11%
say Fateh came out the winner, and 20% say neither came out a winner.
29% believe that the reason a reconciliation agreement was signed has to do
with the fall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt while 27% believe it was the
youth demonstrations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that was
responsible for forcing the two sides to sign the agreement. Moreover, 21%
believe the reason was the failure of negotiations with Israel while 12%
believe it was the eruption of youth demonstrations against the Syrian
(2) Domestic Conditions
25% describe conditions in the Gaza Strip as good or very good and 47%
describe them as bad or very bad. In our last poll, three months ago, in
March 2011, 21% described conditions in the Gaza Strip as good or very good
and 56% said they were bad or very bad. It is worth noting that a year ago,
in June 2010, only 9% described conditions in the Gaza Strip as good or very
good. Today, 37% describe conditions in the West Bank as good or very good
and 29% describe them as bad or very bad. Three months ago, these
percentages stood at 33% and 33% respectively. As can be seen in the
following table, a year ago, positive evaluation of conditions in the West
Bank stood at 35%.
71% say there is corruption in the PA institutions in the West Bank while
only 60% say there is corruption in the institutions of the dismissed
government in the Gaza Strip. These percentages are similar to those
obtained three months ago.
61% say there is, or there is to some extent, press freedom in the West Bank
and 34% say there is no such freedom in the West Bank. By contrast, 47% say
there is, or there is to some extent, press freedom in the Gaza Strip while
41% say there is no such freedom in the Gaza Strip.
31% say people in the West Bank can criticize the authority in the West Bank
without fear. By contrast, 25% say people in the Gaza Strip can criticize
the authorities in Gaza without fear. These findings reflect an improvement
in the situation in the Gaza Strip and a slight decline in the West Bank
compared to where things stood three months ago. Since the split between the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in June 2007, these percentages have witnessed
gradual and significant decrease. As the table below shows, belief that
people can criticize the authorities in the West Bank without fear stood at
56% while 52% believed that people can criticize the authorities without
fear in the Gaza Strip. This is the first time since the split that we have
seen an increase in the percentage of those who believe that people in the
Gaza Strip can criticize the authorities there without fear. The change may
be due to changing perceptions of Hamas’ behavior in the Gaza Strip after
the signing of the reconciliation agreement.
Perception of safety and security stands at 56% in the West Bank and 80% in
the Gaza Strip. This finding indicates a large increase in the perception of
safety and security in the Gaza Strip compared to March 2011 when it stood
at 67%. The difference may reflect a perception change in light of the
Positive evaluation of the performance of the governments of Ismail Haniyeh
stands at 39% and Salam Fayyad’s at 43%. Three months ago, these percentages
stood at 31% and 39% respectively.
Findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say that political,
security, and economic conditions force them to seek immigration to other
countries stands at 40%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at 26%.
Three months ago, these figures stood at 37% and 21% respectively, which
means that the signing of the reconciliation agreement, despite the public
support, has nonetheless brought back concerns about international sanctions
Percentage of satisfaction with the performance of President Abbas stands at
52% while 45% say they are dissatisfied with his performance. These
percentages reflect an increase in the level of satisfaction with the
performance of the president, which stood at 46% three months ago while the
level of dissatisfaction stood at 51%. Satisfaction with the performance of
the president stands at 47% in the Gaza Strip and 55% in the West Bank. The
increase in the percentage of satisfaction with the performance of Abbas may
be an outcome of the signing of the reconciliation agreement.
(3) Presidency and Legislative Elections:
If new presidential elections are held today, and only two were nominated,
Abbas would receive the vote of 54% and Haniyeh 38% of the vote of those
participating. The rate of participation in such election would reach 60%.
In the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives in this poll 51% and Haniyeh 44% and in
the West Bank Abbas receives 56% and Haniyeh 34%. These results are similar
to those obtained in our pervious poll three months ago.
If the presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail
Haniyeh, the former would receive 61% and the latter would receive 33% of
the participants’ votes. The rate of participation in this case would reach
67%. In the Gaza Strip, Barghouti receives 56% and Haniyeh 40% and in the
West Bank Barghouti receives 64% and Haniyeh 29%. These results are similar
to those obtained three months ago.
Most popular figures selected by the public as possible vice presidents from
a list of five provided to respondents are Marwan Barghouti (selected by 27%
of the public), Ismail Haniyeh (22%), Salam Fayyad (17%) Mustafa Barghouti
(9%) and Saeb Erekat (4%).
If new legislative elections are held today with the participation of all
factions, 69% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who
would participate, 28% say they would vote for Hamas and 42% say they would
vote for Fateh, 10% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 19%
are undecided. These results indicate an increase of two percentage points
to each of Fateh and Hamas compared to our results three months ago. Vote
for Hamas in the Gaza Strip in this poll stands at36 % and in the West Bank
24%. Vote for Fateh in the Gaza Strip is 43% and in the West Bank 42%.
(4) Internal disagreements within Fateh and Hamas and Abbas’ decision
regarding “family honor” killings:
An overwhelming majority of 75% supports and 19% oppose PA president
decision annulling articles in the penal code whereby those accused of
“family honor” killings are given light sentences.
70% support and 21% oppose the decision by Fateh’s Central Committee to
expel Mohammad Dahlan from Fateh and transferring his file to the Attorney
General’s office. Opposition to the decision increases to 28% in the Gaza
Strip and drops to 17% in the West Bank.
Moreover, 61% believe that differences of opinion within Fateh regarding
Dahlan reflect big and serious disagreement within the movement while 33%
believe they reflect a minor disagreement.
Differences of opinion that erupted within Hamas after the signing of the
reconciliation agreement reflect big and serious disagreement within the
movement in the views of 42% of the public while 48% believe that they
reflect minor disagreements.
(5) Youth demonstrations in Syria and Yemen:
An overwhelming majority of 89% sympathizes with the demonstrators against
the Assad regime in Syria and 90% sympathize with the demonstrators against
the regime in Yemen.
(6) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting
The largest percentage (48%) believes that the first most vital Palestinian
goal should be to end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and
build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East
Jerusalem as its capital. By contrast, 26% believe the first most vital goal
should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and
villages, 15% believe that it should be to build a pious or moral individual
and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings, and 11%
believe that the first and most vital goal should be to establish a
democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights of
The largest percentage (40%) believes that the second most vital Palestinian
goal should be to obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns
and villages. 25% believe that the second goal should be to end Israeli
occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, 19%
believe that the second goal should be to establish a democratic political
system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians, and 16% believe
the second most vital goal should be to build a pious or moral individual
and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings.
The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is the spread
of poverty and unemployment in the eyes of 36% of the public while 30%
believe that it is the continuation of occupation and settlement activities,
18% believe it to be the corruption in some public institutions, and 11%
believe it to be the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings.
Only 2% mentioned the absence of national unity due to the West Bank-Gaza
Strip split which was mentioned by 28% in our previous poll in March 2011.
It is clear that the signing of the reconciliation agreement and the belief
of the majority that the agreement will indeed be implemented has removed
this issue from among the list of main problems as perceived by the public.
This poll was conducted with the support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung -