The popularity of the Hamas militant group has fallen far behind rival Fatah, according to an opinion poll released Monday, and Palestinians were overwhelmingly opposed to the Islamic group's heavy-handed tactics in the Gaza Strip.
The poll, conducted by A-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, was the latest sign of public discontent with Hamas following its violent takeover of Gaza in June, when its gunmen defeated pro-Fatah security forces.
In the poll, 78 percent of respondents said they didn't approve of the practices of the Executive Force, the paramilitary Hamas force policing Gaza.
Although Hamas leaders have said the Executive Force have returned law and order to chaotic Gaza, 65 percent of respondents said security was deteriorating in the strip. Just 21 percent said they believed Hamas is capable of governing the Gaza Strip.