November 2009: Majority of Palestinians against Abbas’ decision to step down

According to the poll conducted by the Ramallah-based firm Near East Consulting published on November 8th at Ma’an News Agency, 62% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza oppose Abbas’ decision not to seek reelection in next elections.



A majority of Palestinians oppose President Mahmoud Abbas’ stated decision not to seek another term in elections he recently called, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday.

The poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based firm Near East Consulting, 62% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza said they are opposed to Abbas’ decision, which he made public on Thursday.

Only 38% said they supported Abbas’ decision to step down. The split appeared to correlate with party affiliation, as 79% of Hamas supporters opposed the decision, and 77% of Fatah urging the president to change his mind.

However, fully 76% of those surveyed said they expected Abbas to reverse his decision. The other 24% said he was not likely to change his decision.

Asked to choose their preference from a list of potential presidential candidates, 31% chose Abbas, 12% chose jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, 8% Fatah’s ex-strongman in Gaza Muhammad Dahlan, 7% caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, 4% de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and 3% Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi. Six percent chose other figures. Another 16% percent said they would refrain from voting in an election, and 13% refused to answer the question.

The poll results showed that Dahlan and Marwan Barghouthi drew high levels of support among younger people, whereas Abbas drew his support from all age groups.

The poll predicts also predicts a lopsided result in potential parliamentary elections. If elections were held next week, 62% said they would vote for Fatah, and just 7% said they would support Hamas, the victor in the previous election. Three percent said they would vote for left-wing parties, 8% for other parties, and 20% not voting.

Seventy-five percent said they were against dissolving the Palestinian Authority. Twenty-five percent said they favored the idea.

Near East Consulting surveyed 780 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem for the poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%