According to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 54% of Palestinians are “dissatisfied with the overall performance of the Hamas government and 42% are satisfied.” “The public exhibits a total consensus (84%) that the situation of the Palestinians today is bad or very bad.” Yet, “the percentage of those who say that they would vote for [Hamas] if new elections are held today remains essentially unchanged, standing at 38% compared to 39% three months ago.” *
Given that, in the party-preference portion of the legislative election in the Palestinian territories in January, Hamas obtained under 45% of the vote, these results show remarkably stable support for the party in a context of overall dissatisfaction. Obviously, Palestinians are not holding their ruling party responsible for their condition. One need not look too far to see why: “a majority (67%) does not think that Hamas should accept the demand of the donor community to recognize Israel and only 30% believe it should.”
The poll also shows support for Fatah at 41%, which is almost precisely what it obtained in the election. Support for President Mahmoud Abbas stands at 55%, essentially unchanged over the past three months.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government has not fared so well in public opinion. A poll by by Yedioth Ahronoth and the Dahaf Institute shows only 7% (yes, seven percent) of Israelis support Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as “as the right person to lead them.” The highest ranking Israeli politicians in this survey are as follows:
Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud), 27%
Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), 15%
Tzipi Livni (Kadima, incumbent Foreign Minister), 14%
Shimon Peres (Kadima, incumbent Vice Premier), 12%
Current Defense Minister and Labor Party leader Amir Peretz comes in at 1% (yes, one percent).**
* The poll was conducted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during September 14-16, 2006. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.
** The survey findings are based on the responses of 499 people out of a representative sample of the adult population in Israel, and they will be published in full by Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday. The maximal sampling error is 4.5 percent.