Palestinian support for Hamas sliding, poll shows

By Jessica Elgot and Reuters, June 29, 2009
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Support for Hamas has dropped by almost ten per cent, an opinion poll has shown.

The survey of 1,199 people, by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC), put public support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at 18.8 per cent, compared with 27.7 per cent in its previous poll in January.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction is now more popular than Hamas with a 34.9 per cent rating, up from 26 percent in January, indicating the group could take the next election in Gaza.

Khader Khader, head of the media unit at the East Jerusalem-based JMCC, said he believed Hamas' popularity was affectly by rising discontent in Gaza over a lack of movement in Egyptian-sponsored unity talks with Fatah and in reopening the territory's borders.

According to the poll, 26.5 per cent blamed Israel for the deadlock between Fatah and Hamas, while 23.5 per cent blamed Hamas and 15.5 percent said Fatah was responsible.

"It's a sort of protest by the people because there is no progress on these two major issues," Khader said.

The poll also found that most Palestinians have low expectations of Barack Obama, and believe his presidency will have no effect on the Israeli and Palestinian peace process.

More than 49 per cent of the respondents said that Obama's policies would not impact the peace process, compared with 35.4 per cent who believe that Obama's policies will improve the chances for peace.

Last updated: 2:26pm, June 29 2009