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Date posted: September 02, 2015
By JMCC

Poll No. 84 August 2015

Public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre

  • Uncertainty over a successor: What if President Abbas does not run for president again
  • Setback in trust in the government and political personalities
  • Majority wants elections even without reconciliation
  • No sympathy with ISIS in West Bank and Gaza

A public opinion poll conducted by JMCC showed interesting results in Palestinian public opinion circles, including contradictions and several surprises. Perhaps the most significant of these was the absence of a real successor to President Mahmoud Abbas if he does not run for the presidency. The results also showed a setback in the popularity of Palestinian forces and factions and a lack of any sympathy or support for ISIS or its sister movements, whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. What was even more peculiar was the setback in campaigns to boycott Israeli products, both in practice and in support.

Uncertainty: Who will succeed Abu Mazen if he does not run for president?

One question posed to the public was about their choices if presidential elections were held and the current President Mahmoud Abbas does not run. 10.5% (9.1% from the West Bank and 12.9% from Gaza) said they would vote for Marwan Barghouti for president making him the most popular candidate, while 9.8% (7.5% from the West Bank and 13.8% from Gaza) said they would vote for Ismail Haniyeh; 5.1% (1.3% from the West Bank and 11.3% from Gaza) answered Mohammed Dahlan and 3.3% said they would vote for Saeb Erekat; another 3.3% answered Khaled Meshaal, while the largest proportion 33.6% said they had not yet decided for whom they would vote.

Setback in popularity of political personalities

The poll also showed a setback in the level of trust in political personalities, whereby the percentage of those who trust President Abbas dropped from 21.8% in March of this year to 16.1% in this August poll. The level of trust in Ismail Haniyeh also dropped from 14.1% to 12.5% in the same period. Moreover, the level of trust in Marwan Barghouti rose from 5.4% in March to 7.1% within the same period.

In terms of evaluating the performance of the government, the percentage of those who believe its performance has retreated rose from 15.8% in April, 2014 to 26.4% this August. Also, the percentage of those who believe the government deals transparently with the administration of financial issues dropped from 24.3% in May 2012 to 17.3% this August.

In regards to the latest reshuffle in Dr. Rami Hamdallahs government, the majority, 44.3% of those polled, said the step would make no difference, in comparison to 34.9% who said the step would serve the interests of the Palestinian people.

The public was then asked the question: How would you define yourself- only in one word- in terms of particular affiliation?. The majority, 32.4% answered Palestinian; 16.8% said Muslim, 6.8% said Fatah; and 2.7% answered Hamas.

Increasing demand for elections

Meanwhile, there was a rise in the percentage of those who support holding legislative and presidential elections, even if reconciliation is not completed, from 34.8% in November, 2012 to 58.9% in this August. In contrast,, the percentage of those who support holding elections only once reconciliation is completed, dropped from 60.8% in November, 2012 to 35.8% this August.

In response to the question whether it is important for Palestine National Council elections to be held, 74% said it was important while 16.9% said it was not important.

In response to the question If PLC elections were held today, to which party you would vote for, 41.1% said Fatah 20.2% Hamas while 22.7% said they will not vote.

Setback in support for and practice of a boycott of Israeli products

It was clear from the poll that there has been a distinct setback in the level of support for and practice of boycott campaigns of Israeli products in general. The percentage of those who support the boycott of all Israeli projects dropped from 59.2% last March to 49.1% this August. Moreover, the percentage of those who support the boycott of Israeli settlement products only rose from 7.6% last March to 9.4% this August.

In response to a question about their direct practice of boycotting, the percentage of respondents who said they boycott all Israeli products dropped from 48.8% last March to 34.1% this August.

No sympathy for ISIS or its sister movements

The poll clearly showed there is no sympathy for or any noteworthy presence of ISIS or Salafist movements in the Palestinian territories, including in the Gaza Strip. The majority, 64.9% said they were unsympathetic with them while 3.8% said they were sympathetic.

In regards to the strength of Salafist movements in the Gaza Strip, the majority of respondents, 60.3% said the presence of Salafist movements in the Strip was limited and had little strength. Meanwhile, 2.8% said they were very strong. Upon considering the responses to this question in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank separately, it is apparent that 53.4% of the West Bank and 71.8% of the Gaza Strip consider these movements to have little and limited strength.

Two-state solution: continuous setback

There was a continuous, slight decline in the percentage of those who believe the two-state formula is the favored solution, whereby the percentage of the supporters for this solution dropped from 44% this August after it had been 48.3% in March of this year and 52.4% in March, 2013. Contrastingly, the percentage of those who support a bi-national state rose to 21.3% in this poll after it was 16.3% in March of this year and 23.4% in March, 2013.

Maintaining the PNA

The poll showed that 71.7% of respondents believe there is a need to perpetuate and maintain the PNA. This includes the majority, 78.4% in the Gaza Strip and 67.7% in the West Bank including Jerusalem, in comparison to 23.7% who support the dissolution of the PNA.

What is more important

As for the question on what should be a priority for the PNA, the majority, 27.4% clearly stated that the priority should be dealing with the cost of living problem, followed by 21.4% who said the priority should be the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip; this was followed by 20.3% who said it should be enforcing the law; 14.8% said confronting settler attacks, while 10.4% said education.  

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