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Sunday, December 17, 2006

NEC Poll: 68% Palestinians support Abu Mazen's call for elections 60% believe Hamas should participate in elections (16% of Hamas supporters favor participating)

Palestinian perceptions on issues related to Abu
Mazen's Presidential speech and the call for early
Presidential and Legislative elections

While 60% of Palestinians believe that Hamas should participate in the early
Presidential and Legislative elections only 16% of Hamas supporters share
this view.

17 December 2006

I. Introduction

On 16-17 December, 2006, Near East Consulting (NEC) conducted a phone survey
of  over 1176 randomly selected Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza
Strip, and  Jerusalem of which 643 were successfully completed.

The survey was started within hours of Abu Mazen's Presidential speech in
which he  called for early Presidential and Legislative elections. The NEC
team decided to  conduct a short survey immediately in order to gauge
Palestinian reactions to this  speech, but also to set a base for future
reference. NEC intends to monitor public  opinion regularly and
systematically during the period running up to the called for early
Presidential and Legislative elections.  It is worth noting that the margin
of error is +/- 3.8% with a 95% confidence level.

II. Main findings

Opinions about President Abu Mazen's speech:

Overall, 22% did not hear or see Abu Mazen's speech and were, as such,
unable to  comment. For the remainder, 40% said that Abu Mazen's speech was
good, 18%  considered to be average, while 19% thought that the presidential
speech was bad.

The Presidential speech was clearly more watched or listed to in the Gaza
Strip than in  the West Bank as only 9% in the Gaza Strip did not hear or
see the speech, while 29%  in the West Bank did not hear or see it. In
addition, a far larger percentage of Gazans  (57%) than Westbankers (31%)
described the speech as good.

A majority of 68% welcomes and supports the call by Abu Mazen for
Presidential and  Legislative elections, while 32% opposes it. The results
reveal that support for the call  for early Presidential and Legislative
elections is stronger in the West Bank (71%) than  in the Gaza Strip (62%).
However, support for this call for early Presidential and  Legislative
elections is very balanced according to factional trust. More specifically,
69% of Fateh supporters, 67% of Hamas supporters, and 69% of those who do
not trust any  faction support the call for early Presidential and
Legislative elections.

A majority of 60% of Palestinians believe that Hamas should participate in
the early  Presidential and Legislative elections. This view is shared in
varying degrees by  Palestinians in the West Bank (57%) and people in the
Gaza Strip (67%). In addition,  according to factional trust, 91% of Fateh
supporters and 57% of those who do not trust  any faction believe that Hamas
should take part in the early Presidential and Legislative  elections, while
a mere 16% of Hamas supporters share this view.

The majority of Palestinians seem optimistic that Abu Mazen's call for early
elections will  help to solve the internal crisis. As overviewed below, 63%
believe that the call for early  elections will bring a solution to the
internal crisis, while 37% feel that it might contribute  to an
intensification of the crisis.

The perception that the call for early elections might lead to a solution of
the internal  crisis is more pronounced in the Gaza Strip (69%) than in the
West Bank (60%), and is  also more the view among Fateh supporters (76%) and
those who do trust any faction  (64%) than among Hamas supporters (37%).

Even Palestinians themselves are not clear anymore of which institution
represents  them. The results show that a slight majority of Palestinians
believe that the PA  represents them (54%). This view is much more
widespread among Hamas supporters  (88%) and those who do not trust any
faction (64%) than among Fateh supporters  (26%). According to region, a
higher percentage of Gazans (51%) than Westbankers  (44%) think that the PLO
represents the Palestinian people.

Only in a recent NEC survey that was conducted in the period between 7 to 10
December 2006, the results showed that President Abbas had lost significant
popular  support (49%) in favour of his Prime Minister Ismael Hanieh (51%).
Now, in the  aftermath of President Abbas's speech, trust in the President
has again sharply  increased.  60% most trust Abu Mazen, while 40% most
trust Ismael Hanieh.

As can be expected, especially Fateh supporters most trust Abu Mazen (96%),
while  Hamas supporters are more inclined to most trust Ismael Hanieh (96%).
According to  region, 57% of Westbankers most trust Abu Mazen and 43% of
them most trust Ismael  Hanieh. As for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, 65%
most trust Abu Mazen, while 35%  most trust Ismael Hanieh.  As for factional
trust, in NEC's most recent survey (7-10 December 2006), 32% of
Palestinians most trusted Fateh, 27% most trusted Hamas, while 35% did not
trust any  faction.

 Since Abu Mazen's speech, however, it seems that quite a portion of
Palestinians who  did not trust any faction, decided to put their trust back
into Fateh. Today, 44% most trust Fateh, 26% most trust Hamas, while a
sharply decreased 24% of Palestinians do not trust any faction. For the
first time since August 2006, the  Palestinians who do not trust any faction
are no longer the largest segment of society.

Perhaps against common perception, a higher percentage of Palestinians in
the Gaza  Strip most trust Fateh (47%) than Hamas (25%). Whereas in NEC
recent survey of 7-10  December 2006 factional support in the West Bank was
quite evenly divided with 27%  most trusting Fateh, 25% most trusting Hamas,
and 40% not trusting any faction, today  45% of Westbankers support Fateh,
25% support Hamas, and 23% do not trust any  faction.

NEC's Bulletins and the surveys associated with it are independent and
are not supported or funded by any local or international organization.
They are funded entirely from the private resources of the company.

Please contact:
Jamil Rabah
Near East Consulting
HSBC Building, 3rd floor
Tel: 02-2961436
Fax: 02-2963114

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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