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October 15, 2014 11:56 am

New Poll: Hamas Losing Support in Gaza, Winning it in West Bank

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From left to right, senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed, head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh, and deputy speaker of the Gaza-based Palestinian Parliament Ahmed Bahar attend a meting in Gaza City on April 22, 2014. Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government this spring, but since then little progress has been made as the Palestinian factions continue to feel deep mistrust toward one another. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

A new poll by the Arab World for Research and Development shows that support for Hamas is evaporating in Gaza – but strengthening in the West Bank. And support for the PA-led “unity government” that the world is pretending will save the Palestinian Arabs is disappearing in the West Bank.

The West Bank-Gaza divide on internal political issues is deepening. The present poll confirms a trend that has emerged over the past five years. The Gaza public appears to be growing increasingly disillusioned and unhappy with the Hamas administration; while in the West Bank the public is becoming similarly disillusioned and unhappy with the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas and Fatah. Over the past several years, AWRAD’s public opinion data has been confirming these developments in what appears to be a classic case of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ mentality. The following results are indicative of this situation:

1) If a unified Fatah list runs for election in Gaza, it would win in a landslide:

  • Hamas is less trusted than Fatah by 53 percent among Gazans. 33 percent of Gazans hold the opposite view.
  • The present poll shows that Fatah’s support in Gaza is at 42 percent, compared to Hamas support of 27 percent.
  • Only 21 percent of Gazans are undecided or will not vote, indicating that the results of a future election are less vulnerable to the voting patterns of independent and ambivalent constituencies.

2) If Hamas runs in the West Bank, it could seriously challenge Fatah:

  • Fatah is less trusted than Hamas among 40 percent of West Bank respondents, while Hamas is less trusted than Fatah among 28 percent of West Bank respondents.
  • The present poll shows that Hamas’ popularity in the West Bank is 27 percent, equal to that of Fatah.
  • 38 percent of West Bank respondents are undecided or will not vote, indicating that the results of a future election are highly vulnerable to the voting patterns of independent and ambivalent constituencies.

3) Abbas is more popular in Gaza while Haniyeh polls better in the West Bank:

  • Abbas receives the support of 49 percent of Gazans, while Haniyeh receives 26 percent.
  • Abbas receives the support of 31 percent of the West Bank, while Haniyeh receives 33 percent
  • In a hypothetical Abbas-Haniyeh contest, 25 percent of Gazans and 36 percent of West Bank respondents are undecided or will not vote, making President Abbas even more vulnerable in the West Bank in a race with Haniyeh.

4) A majority in Gaza want a Hamdallah-led government; much less support in the West Bank:

  • 50 percent of Gazans prefer a Hamdallah-led government and only 24 percent prefer a Haniyeh-led government to run their region.
  • The pattern is the opposite in the West Bank where 35 percent prefer a Haniyeh-led government and 29 percent prefer a Hamdallah-led government.

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