A new poll Sunday showed the Palestinian Authority's governing Fatah party capturing 50 percent of the vote in January parliamentary elections and Hamas, running in national elections for the first time, winning 32 percent.
The results suggest that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has held his ground against Hamas, despite predictions that his failure to impose law and order in Palestinian territories would hurt him in the electoral race. Hamas has been campaigning on an agenda of clean government and end to years of Fatah corruption.
A September survey by the same pollster, Khalil Shikaki, gave Fatah 47 percent and Hamas 30 percent, putting the rise reported Sunday roughly within the margin of error. The survey polled 1,316 people and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
The poll also showed 36 percent of respondents favoring jailed uprising leader Marwan Barghouti, a member of Fatah's young guard, as prime minister, compared with 20 percent for Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar and 8 percent for the current prime minister, Arafat-era holdover Ahmed Qurei.
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