The Jerusalem Media & Communications Center has released a new public opinion poll that shows that Palestinian support for Hamas has increased since Israel's Gaza offensive. It also found that support for military action against Israel increased. The poll found that respondents' satisfaction with the United States was a dismal 2.8 percent, and almost half believed President Obama will be unable to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Read the press release below:
A public opinion poll conducted by Jerusalem Media & Communications Center
Fatah and Hamas
The results of the public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications
Center (JMCC) during the period 29-31 January, 2009 show that the majority of respondents
(46.7%) believes that Hamas came out of the war victorious compared with only 9.8% who said
that Israel won the war. Over one-third, 37.4%, said that neither side achieved victory in this
A striking finding in this field poll is the disparity between opinions in the West Bank and
opinions in the Gaza Strip on most of the issues tackled in the poll. For example, 53.3% of
respondents in the West Bank believe that Hamas won in the recent war, while 35.2% of
respondents in Gaza Strip felt the same.
The poll, with a random sample of 1,198 respondents, found a rise in the popularity of the
Hamas movement - especially in the West Bank - and the popularity of its leaders and
government in Gaza Strip alongside a decline in the popularity of the Fatah movement and its
leaders and government in the West Bank.
Palestinians' opinions after the Gaza War
When asked if PLC elections were held today, the percentage of those who would vote for
Hamas rose to 28.6% in this poll compared with 19.3% last April. On the other hand, the
popularity of Fatah Movement declined from 34% last April to 27.9% in this poll.
This change was also reflected in the level of public trust in the two movements. Trust in Hamas rose from 16.6% last November to 27.7% in this poll. With regards to Fatah, popular trust in the movement declined from 31.3% to 26% in the same period. It is clear from the poll that the rise in Hamas' popularity is due to an increase in its popularity in the West Bank - it rose from 12.8% last November to 26.5% in this poll.
This same trend applies to public trust in leading figures. The percentage of those who trust
discharged PM Ismail Hanieh went up from 12.8% last October to 21.1% in this poll; this is due
to a rise in his popularity in the West Bank from 9.2% to 18.5%. Trust in President Mahmoud
Abbas went down from 15.5% last October to 13.4% in this poll.
The percentage of respondents who believe that the performance of the government of Fayyad
is better than the performance of Hanieh's government declined from 36% last April to 26.9% in
this poll, while those who believe that the performance of Fayyad's government is worse than
Hanieh's government rose from 29.1% to 40.7%.
The military operations and negotiations
This JMCC poll found that Israel's war on Gaza contributed to an increase in support for military
action against Israel. The percentage of respondents who believe that locally-made rockets help achieve the Palestinian national goals rose from 39.3% last April to 50.8% in this poll, with a decrease in the percentage of respondents who believe that the rockets harm national interests from 35.7% last April to 20.8% in this poll.
In the same trend, the percentage of those who support military operations against Israel targets as an appropriate response under the current political conditions increased from 49.5% last April to 53.5% in this poll. Moreover, this poll found that the percentage of supporters of
bombing operations against Israeli civilians increased from 50.7% to 55.4% for the same period.
According to the JMCC poll results, the war led to an increase in the percentage of those who
oppose peace negotiations. Nearly 41% (40.9%) of respondents polled opposed peace
negotiations compared with 34.7% in a JMCC poll conducted last November.
The war on Gaza contributed to a rise in popularity of several leaders and countries who
adopted positions against Israel, and the organizations that played a humanitarian role. Turkey
won satisfaction from the highest percentage of Palestinians (89.6%), followed by Venezuela
(80.6%), the International Committee of the Red Cross (79.8%); UNRWA (at fourth place with
78.6% of respondents satisfied), followed by Qatar (68.3%), Hezbollah (66.9%), the Muslim
Brotherhood Movement (57.6%) and Iran (55.9%).
On the other hand, respondents' satisfaction with the positions of countries that sided more with Israel during the war was very minimal. The United States received the satisfaction of 2.8% of respondents, followed by Britain (10.4%), then Germany (14.4%). France was the western
country that received the satisfaction of the greatest percentage of respondents (at 21.5%).
Egypt received the satisfaction of 35.1% of respondents, while Jordan enjoyed a satisfaction
level of 41.7%.
In spite of this, the new US administration, headed by Barack Obama, injected some optimism
into Palestinian public opinion. Although almost half of the respondents (48.2%) said that
Obama's election as president of the United States won't make any difference in the chances of
achieving a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, 28.1% said they are more optimistic about
solving the conflict (this is the highest percentage ever received by a US president in JMCC
polls) while a ratio of 18.9% said they feel more pessimistic.
Palestinians also weighed in on the party most preferred to assume the process of Gaza
reconstruction after the war on Gaza. A majority of 30.6% said they prefer an international
mechanism under UN supervision to assume this task; the second choice was for a national
unity government to assume the task (27.2%) while 23.2% prefer that the government of Hamas
assume the task and a minority of 13.7% said they prefer the Palestinian Authority to assume
the task of Gaza reconstruction.
Sixty researchers from Jerusalem Media and Communication Center one-third of them from
Gaza Strip, participated in this poll. They conducted direct face-to-face interviews with
respondents. The researchers reached all regions in Gaza Strip. It was found that around 70%
of the regions visited by the researchers suffered direct damage as a result of the Israeli
operations, including Rafah, Abasan, Tuffah Quarter, Zaitoun Quarter and many other areas.
See the complete poll results here: