PSR Poll No. 68 (Press Release) - 25 June-1 July, 2018
Abbas’ standing improves but the public is worried about possible
deterioration in internal conditions in case of his absence and the majority
demands compliance with the Basic Law in selecting his successor, as the
case was in Arafat’s succession. By contrast, the public is dissatisfied
with the manner in which the PNC managed its recent meeting and with the
ability of the PLO leadership it elected to represent Palestine and its
diaspora. An overwhelming majority demands immediate halt to all measures
taken by the PA against Gaza. Despite wide support for popular resistance,
the majority believes that the March of Return has failed to achieve its
25 June-1 July 2018
These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center
for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
between 25 June and 1 July 2018. The period before the conduct of the poll
witnessed important developments including the convening of the Palestinian
National Council in Ramallah, the launch of the Return March in the Gaza
Strip, the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,
rising concerns about economic and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip
and the potential impact of a reconciliation failure on these conditions.
Weeks before the conduct of the poll, President Abbas entered a hospital in
Ramallah for treatment fueling concerns about his health and a potential
succession crisis. This press release addresses these issues and covers
other matters such as general conditions in the Palestinian territories and
the various future directions for Palestinians in the absence of a viable
peace process. Total size of the sample is 2150 adults interviewed face to
face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 2.5%.
For further details, contact PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, or Walid
Ladadweh at tel. 02-296 4933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In light of the hospitalization of president Abbas, about two-thirds of the
public express concern that domestic conditions may deteriorate in the
absence of the president as long as no clarity or agreement exists on the
succession process that should be followed. The public has a clear
preference: it wants a full compliance with the relevant articles in the
Basic Law even if this means that Aziz Duwaik from Hamas (being the current
Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council) would become a temporary
president for 60 days. However, a majority would also be happy if Hamas
shows flexibility and allows a non-Hamas, non-Fatah speaker to be elected by
the parliament thereby allowing a smoother process of succession and the
holding of elections after 60 days.
Findings for the second quarter of 2018 also show that Abbas’ standing has
improved somewhat. This might be due to his hospitalization. But it could
also mean that the public is showing an appreciation for his strong
rejection of Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” It is worth mentioning that
Fatah’s popularity improved slightly as well. Yet despite this, more than
60% of the public demand Abbas’ resignation and the public stands decisively
against Abbas’ domestic policies. An overwhelming majority demands the
immediate halt to all measures taken by Abbas against the Gaza Strip and
opposes the crackdown on demonstrations demanding an ending to these
measures. Moreover, a two-third majority opposes Abbas’ demand for disarming
armed factional battalions in the Gaza Strip. A majority is also opposed to
Abbas’ demand that Hamas hand over the entire responsibility over the Gaza
Strip to the reconciliation government, including ministries, the security
sector, and the “arms.”
The public expresses disappointment over some of the outcomes of the most
recent meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) which was held two
months ago in Ramallah and indeed, an overwhelming majority indicates that
it did not follow the proceedings of the meeting. Despite the fact that the
largest percentage believes that the PNC represents the Palestinians, this
percentage is less than half of the public. Perhaps one reason for this is
the perception that the PNC’s proceedings and decisions are irrelevant to
policy making. Indeed, about 70% believe that president Abbas and his
government will not implement the PNC decisions. Moreover, about two thirds
of the public are dissatisfied with the way members of the Executive
Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) were elected by
the Council and 70% expressed dissatisfaction with ability of these members
to represent Palestinians at home and in the diaspora. Yet, despite all of
this, a majority still views the PLO as the sole legitimate representative
of the Palestinian people.
In light of the collapse of Palestinian-Israeli peace process, support for
alternatives to negotiations varies. About three quarters continue to
support PA efforts to internationalize the conflict and join various UN
organizations. Moreover, about two thirds support popular non-violent
resistance, a large minority supports return to an armed intifada, a similar
percentage supports the dissolution of the PA, and a little less than a
third supports abandoning the two-state solution and embracing a one state
solution for Palestinians and Israelis. These findings indicate a decline in
support for an armed intifada and in the demand for dissolving the PA and
point to a rise in support for popular resistance. It is worth mentioning
that support for armed action and the dissolution of the PA is much higher
in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank while support for popular resistance
is high in both areas.
Nonetheless, confidence in the effectiveness of popular resistance is not
high. This lack of confidence is demonstrated in public assessment of the
effectiveness of the March of Return in the Gaza Strip. Despite popular
support for the March in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, about three
quarters of the public (80% in the West Bank and two thirds in the Gaza
Strip) believe that the March has failed to achieve its goals or achieved
very little. It is worth mentioning that the public is evenly divided in its
assessment of the main party behind the March between those who think it is
Hamas and those who think it is civil society organizations. Gazans however
show no hesitancy on this as they strongly believe that it is indeed Hamas
that stands behind the initiation and organization of the March of Return.
(1) Abbas succession and presidential and parliamentary elections:
A large majority (64%) is worried that internal conditions might deteriorate
or destabilize during the post-Abbas succession process due to lack of
clarity and absence of agreement on the means of selecting the next PA
president; 32% say they are not worried.
A majority (60%) says that in the case of Abbas’ absence, the Speaker of the
Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz al Duwaik form Hamas, must become
president for two months in implementation of the Basic Law; 29% say they
are opposed to such implementation.
Similarly, a majority of 62% indicates that it would welcome a Hamas
initiative to allow the election of a non-Hamas/non-Fatah Speaker in order
to facilitate the post Abbas succession process; 29% say they are opposed to
Almost half (48%) believes that the in the post Abbas period, Palestinian
factions will succeed in reaching an agreement on a process that would allow
for the holding of presidential elections in the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip in order to elect a successor to Abbas; 41% believe the factions will
61% of the public want president Abbas to resign while 33% want him to
remain in office. Three months ago, 68% said they want Abbas to resign.
Demand for Abbas’ resignation stands at 54% in the West Bank and 73% in the
Gaza Strip. Three months ago, demand for Abbas resignation stood at 62% in
the West Bank and 81% in the Gaza Strip.
If president Abbas does not nominate himself in a new election, 30% prefer
to see Marwan Barghouti replacing him, while 23% prefer Ismail Haniyeh.
Mohammad Dahlan is preferred by 6% (1% in the West Bank and 14% in the Gaza
Strip). Similarly, Rami al Hamdallah is selected by 6%, Mustafa Barghouti
and Khalid Mishal by 3% each, and Salam Fayyad by 2%.
Level of satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas stands at 37%
and dissatisfaction at 59%. Level of satisfaction with Abbas stands at 43%
in the West Bank and 28% in the Gaza Strip. Three months ago, satisfaction
with Abbas stood at 33% (40% in the West Bank and 20% in the Gaza Strip).
If new presidential elections were held today and only two were nominated,
Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas, the former would receive 46% and the
latter 47% of the vote (compared to 52% for Haniyeh and 41% for Abbas three
months ago). In the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 40% of the vote (compared to
35% three months ago) and Haniyeh receives 53% (compared to 62% three months
ago). In the West Bank, Abbas receives 52% (compared to 45% three months
ago) and Haniyeh 41% (compared to 45% three months ago). If the competition
was between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti receives 58% and
If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all
factions, 68% say they would participate in such elections. Of those who
would participate, 32% say they would vote for Hamas and 39% say they would
vote for Fatah, 9% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 20%
are undecided. Three months ago, vote for Hamas stood at 31% and Fatah at
36%. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands today at 38% (compared to 32%
three months ago) and for Fatah at 34% (compared to 32% three months ago).
In the West Bank, vote for Hamas stands at 28% (compared to 30% three months
ago) and Fatah at 43% (compared to 38% three months ago).
(2) Domestic conditions:
Only 35% of the Palestinian public say people in the West Bank can criticize
the PA without fear; 60% of the public say that people cannot criticize the
PA without fear.
Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip stands at 4% and
positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank stands at 17%. In an
open-ended question, we asked respondents to identify the party or side
responsible for the worsening of conditions in the Gaza Strip: the largest
percentage (34%) blames Israel; 26% blame the PA and president Abbas and 20%
blame Hamas. As we found in the previous poll, responses of West Bankers
differ from those of Gazans: 38% of West Bankers compared to only 28% of
Gazans blame Israel; 19% of West Bankers compared to 36% of Gazans blame the
PA and Abbas, and 17% of West Bankers compared to 24% of Gazans blame Hamas.
Perception of safety and security in the Gaza Strip stands at 51%. In the
West Bank perception of safety and security stands at 52%. Three months ago,
perception of safety and security in the Gaza Strip stood at 54% and in the
West Bank at 53%.
We asked the public about its viewership habits in the last two months.
Findings indicate that Al Jazeera TV viewership remains the highest,
standing at 18%, followed by Maan TV and Palestine TV (15% each), Al Aqsa TV
and Filasteen al Youm/Palestine Today (12% each), Al Arabiya and al Quds TV
(5% each), and al Mayadeen (4%).
Perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 80%.
Half of the public (49%) views the PA as a burden on the Palestinian people
while 45% view it as an asset for the Palestinian people.
(3) Reconciliation and the reconciliation government:
Now that it has taken control of the border crossings and the headquarters
of the ministries and other public agencies, 30% are satisfied and 60% are
dissatisfied with the performance of the reconciliation government. Three
months ago, satisfaction stood at 26%.
30%, compared to 26% three months ago, are optimistic and 65% are
pessimistic about the success of reconciliation. These are the same
percentages we obtained three months ago.
A majority (71%) supports the unification of all PA institutions throughout
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including the police force, under the
control of the reconciliation government while 23% prefer to keep control
over the police force in the Gaza Strip as it is now.
But the public is divided over the future of the police officers currently
serving in the Gaza Strip: 32% want to keep all of them in place, 30% want
to replace some of them by new ones while keeping the others, and 27% prefer
to replace all of them with new recruits.
The public is also divided in its attitude regarding the demand made by
Abbas requesting Hamas to fully hand over control over the Gaza Strip to the
reconciliation government, including the ministries, the security sector,
and the “arms:” a large minority of 40% agrees with Abbas’ demand but a
majority of 53% disagrees.
When the question of “arms” was further clarified by asking the public if it
supports or opposes the continued existence of armed factional battalions in
the Gaza Strip alongside the official PA security sector forces, almost
two-thirds (65%) said that they prefer to keep the armed battalions in place
and only 26% said that they oppose the continued existence of the armed
battalions in the Gaza Strip.
Moreover, an overwhelming majority (79%) demands that the PA immediately
lift all the measures taken against the Gaza Strip, such as public sector’s
salary deductions and the reduction in access to electricity; only 17% say
that such measures should be removed only after Hamas fully hands over
control over the Strip to the reconciliation government. It is worth
mentioning that the demand for the immediate lifting of PA measures stands
at 83% in the West Bank but only 72% in the Gaza Strip.
The overwhelming majority (81%) opposes the action taken by the PA security
services to quell the demonstrations in the West Bank that demand lifting
the measures taken by the PA against the Gaza Strip and only 15% support the
crackdown on such demonstrations. Similarly, 81% oppose the measures taken
by the Hamas police in the Gaza Strip against similar demonstrations while
13% support them.
Finally, we asked the public about the narrative it believes to be accurate
regarding the responsibility of Fatah and Hamas over the Gaza explosion that
targeted prime minister Hamdallah convoy several months ago: 26% say they
believe in the accuracy of Hamas’ narrative (that the PA intelligence
Department had a role in the explosion) and 16% believe in the accuracy of
Fatah’s narrative regarding Hamas’ role in that explosion. But the largest
percentage (45%) indicates that neither narrative is accurate. It is worth
mentioning that those who see Hamas’ narrative or that of the PA as accurate
are much higher in the Gaza Strip, with 38% believing in Hamas’ and 27%
believing in the PA’s. The percentage of Gazans who believe that neither
side is accurate declines to only 28%.
(4) The meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC):
The overwhelming majority (83%) says that it either did not follow the
proceedings or the decisions of the PNC meeting during its most recent
session in Ramallah (55%) or followed only little (28%); only 13% say that
they did follow all or most of them.
Yet, 46% agree that the PNC represents them or represents the Palestinian
people at home and in the diaspora and 35% say that it does not represent
them or the Palestinian people. About a fifth (19%) expressed no opinion on
However, when asked about the PLO, a majority (58%) agreed that the current
organization, with its existing institutions and current leadership, remains
the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; only 30%
disagree with that. It is worth mentioning that our findings in June 2006,
exactly 12 years ago, a larger majority of 69% viewed the PLO as the sole
legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Almost two thirds (65%) are dissatisfied with the manner in which the PNC
selected, without allowing nomination and direct personal elections, the
members of the PLO Executive Committee; only 23% are satisfied with the PNC
Similarly, a large majority of 71% does not believe that the newly elected
members are capable of representing the homeland and the diaspora given
their average age and the fact that most came from the West Bank; only 20%
say they are satisfied that the new members have that ability.
Moreover a large majority (69%) says that it has no confidence in the
commitment of president Abbas and the PA government to implement the PNC
decision; only 20% indicate that has such confidence.
(5) The March of Return, the relocation of the US embassy, and future
directions in the absence of the peace process:
38% of the public in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip say that civil society
organizations are behind the initiation and organization of the March of
Return in the Gaza Strip. A similar percentage (37%) says that Hamas is
responsible for the March, and 14% say that factions other than Hamas are
responsible for its initiation and organization. It is worth mentioning that
among Gazans, 61% believe that Hamas stands behind the marches.
A slim majority (51%) of Gazans supports the participation of family members
and friends in the March of Return and 54% of West Bankers indicate their
support for this form of resistance. Nonetheless, only a small minority
(21%) believes the marches have achieved their goals or most of their goals
and 74% believe they have not achieved their goals or achieved a little.
A majority (55%) believes that the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem
serves to weaken Palestinian position that East Jerusalem should be the
capital of the Palestinian state; 16% think the relocation of the embassy
strengthens Palestinian position and 25% believes the relocation has no
73% of East Jerusalem residents, who carry Blue Israeli IDs, indicate that
they do not intend to participate, or have not considered participation, in
the Israeli municipal elections in the city but 22% indicate that they are
indeed intending to vote or considering voting.
A large minority of 39% thinks that negotiation is the most effective means
of establishing a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel while a
third (34%) believes that armed resistance is the most effective means and
21% think non-violent resistance is the most effective. Three months ago,
35% indicated that armed resistance is the answer and only 31% sided with
58% believe that Israel’s long-term aspiration is to expand the state of
Israel to stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and to
expel the Palestinian population, and 21% think that Israel aims at annexing
the occupied territories and deny the Palestinian citizens their rights. By
contrast, only 19% think that Israel’s long-term aspiration is to insure its
security and then withdraw from all or parts of the occupied territories.
In light of the suspension of peace negotiations, Palestinians support
various alternative directions: 75% support joining more international
organizations; 67% support popular non-violence resistance; 43% support a
return to an armed intifada; 42% support dissolving the PA; and 30% support
abandoning the two-state solution and demanding the establishment of one
state for Palestinians and Israelis.
(6) Most vital Palestinian goals and the main problems confronting
43% believe that the first most vital Palestinian goal should be to end
Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian
state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its
capital. By contrast, 29% believe the first most vital goal should be to
obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages, 14%
believe that it should be to build a pious or moral individual and a
religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings, and 13% believe
that the first and most vital goal should be to establish a democratic
political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians.
The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today in the eyes
of 27% of the public is the continuation of occupation and settlement
activities while 25% say it is poverty and unemployment; 22% say it is the
siege of the Gaza Strip and the closure of its crossings; 21% say it is the
spread of corruption in public institutions; and 2% say it is the absence of
This PSR poll has been conducted in cooperation with the
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Ramallah