Palestinian Polls
Thursday, 26 June 2008
26/06/08: NEC Palestinian public opinion poll finds 89% support for the ceasefire and 73% support for signing a peace deal with Israel
Date: 30.06.08
Source: Near East Consulting

Ramallah – The following are the main findings of a survey conducted by the Near East Consulting polling institute among a representative sample of 854 Palestinians from various districts in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including the East Jerusalem district. The margin of error is ±3.4% and the confidence rate is 95%.

Peace with Israel:
The Near East Consulting survey reveals that the Palestinians remain committed to their vision of peace, with the survey finding a 73% support rate for signing a peace agreement with Israel. Among Fatah supporters, the rate reaches 81%, whereas the rate among Hamas supporters is only 57%. As part of their peaceful agenda, 65% of Palestinians demand that the Hamas movement change its position calling for the termination of Israel's existence.

Hamas-Israel ceasefire:
60% of Palestinians are in favor of Hamas entering direct negotiations with Israel, compared with 40% who are against this. 61% of Fatah supporters are in favor of Hamas opening direct negotiations with Israel, compared with a 53% rate among Hamas supporters. The survey also fins that 89% of Palestinians support the ceasefire reached between the Palestinian factions and Israel. Nonetheless, 74% of Palestinian believe the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel will not last long. Furthermore, the survey finds that 79% of the Palestinians are in favor of freeing captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit under certain terms, compared with 7% who support releasing him with no preconditions and 14% who oppose releasing him.

40% believe Israel is the main benefactor from the ceasefire, whereas 36% believe the Palestinians are the main benefactor and 24% who say the ceasefire is beneficial to both parties. On the same issue, 38% of Palestinians polled believe that Hamas' ceasefire agreement with Israel does not affect the organization's population among the Palestinian public, compared with 35% who believe Hamas' popularity has increased following the agreement and 27% who believe its popularity has decreased. Furthermore, 70% believe Hamas will be more committed to the ceasefire than will Israel, 10% believe Israel will be more committed, and 20% believe the commitment will be mutual.

Interior politics:
67% of Palestinian support holding early parliamentary elections and 72% support holding early presidential elections. A comparison with the Near East Consulting survey from April 2008 indicates a rise in support for both elections, with support for early parliamentary elections up from 71% to 76% and support for early presidential elections up from 66% to 72%.

Were parliamentary elections to be held next week, 45% of Palestinians would support Fatah, 13% would support Hamas, and 11% would support other parties. 31% said they would refrain from voting. Were presidential elections to be held next week, 47% would support a Fatah candidate, 13% would support a Hamas candidate, and 11% would support another candidate. 30% said they would refrain from voting.

52% of Palestinians view the interim government headed by Salam Fayyad as the legitimate Palestinian government, whereas 23% view the sacked Hamas government in the Gaza Strip as legitimate, and 25% believe neither government is legitimate. At the same time, 68% believe President Mahmoud Abbas' initiative for a national dialogue between Hamas and Fatah will succeed in bridging the conflict between the two movements. 51% believe the situation in the Gaza Strip will remain as is and not return to that which existed prior to Hamas' military coup in the Strip on June 14th, 2007.

The results of the survey indicate that a majority of 74% of Palestinians place their faith in President Abbas, whereas 13% place their faith in Hamas and 4% do so in other factions. Nonetheless, the survey finds that 42% of Palestinians lack confidence in all political factions active in the Palestinian arena. The results indicate a 4% increase in Fatah's popularity compared with NEC's May public opinion poll.