Background The Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at
An-Najah National University recently carried out its 46th Palestinian
Public Opinion Poll. The survey was conducted against the backdrop of turbulent
political and economic realities which affect the Palestinian population on an
ongoing basis. The Palestinian Authority continues to face a serious
financial crisis as Israel has delayed in transferring tax returns and Arab
donor states have not followed through with promised financial contributions.
As a result of this lack of funds, the PA has faltered in paying salaries over
the last several months and citizen unrest has grown; trade unions and workers
have organized frequent strikes, influencing everyday life in the West Bank.
While internal economic woes have been contributing to citizen discontent,
long-standing political issues have also recently increased tensions. For
instance, Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails have organized
hunger strikes during recent months, drawing Palestinian citizens into the
streets for solidarity demonstrations. On numerous occasions, clashes have
broken out between the IDF and Palestinian demonstrators.
While political and economic turmoil are not new in the Palestinian context, in looking at the dire economic situation, the continued aggression of settlers against Palestinian citizens, and the growing expansion of illegal settlements, some observers, in recent days, have begun to speak of a third intifada. On the other hand, others believe that the upcoming visit of Barack Obama to the region could provide a needed push to the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. The lack of progress in the peace process is not the only stalled political issue; the political division between the West Bank, controlled by Fatah, and Gaza, ruled by Hamas, persists with each side adhering to their stand, making political reconciliation appear unlikely.
The Results The Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University conducted Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 46 from 1-3 March 2013. The poll examines Palestinian public opinion in reference to several topics including the national reconciliation attempts, the economic situation, the upcoming visit of President Obama to the Middle East and its possible results, and the possibility of conducting Palestinian presidential, legislative and municipal elections. The sample included 1366 persons. Respondents were age 18 and above and registered voters. Survey questions were distributed to 866 persons from the West Bank and 500 persons from the Gaza Strip. The sample was drawn randomly and the margin of error is about ±3%; 1.3% of those receiving the questionnaire declined to respond. The results of the poll follow below. The University sponsors all polls conducted by its Center.