Hamas beat Fatah by about 44% to 41% in the party-list vote at the January, 2006, elections. The electoral system turned that narrow plurality into an approximately three-fifths majority in the legislature.1
A recent poll, however, says:
If new legislative elections were to be held today, Hamas would receive 31percent of the vote, while Fatah would capture 49 percent.
The theme of the article in Haaretz, from which I quoted, is that this is “stable” support. While that may be true relative to a poll cited from September, surely the bigger story should be what a large decline this “stability” represents, from the actual legislative election.
Alas, poll respondents are probably also right about something else:
About two-thirds of those surveyed said chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the next five years are slim or non-existent, compared with 70 percent who said they felt that way in June.
That result is thus a bit less stable, and perhaps headed the right way,2 but still very (and realistically) pessimistic.
The was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (see press release).