Poll: Support for Hamas in Gaza declined since December

Support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza has declined by four percentage points to 18% since December, according to a new poll published Thursday.
The poll, conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), said support for Hamas has declined by 4 points to 18 percent while support for Fatah is back to its July 2012 level (42%), an increase from 37% in December 2012.
Echoing the decline in support for Hamas, the poll showed that 95% of Gazans support the immediate holding of legislative and presidential elections. 82% of West Bank respondents also supported calling for immediate elections.
Settlement building in the West Bank appeared to be the biggest obstacle to peace according to the poll, with 68 percent of respondents supporting a return to negotiations if Israel were to stop construction.
Following this, 65% of those surveyed said they oppose a third Intifada. A majority also believe that popular protest activities such as the erection of a protest camp at Bab Al-Shams in the E1 corridor has a real impact on ending the occupation.
On the effect of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, 53% said that the latest confrontations and resulting cease-fire in Gaza will not lead to real change in Palestinian affairs.
Approval ratings for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stood at 58% in the poll, compared to 45% for Hamas chief in Ismail Haniyeh. When the two are pitted against each-other in a presidential race, Abbas could potentially receive 64% of the votes compared with 36% for Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal or Haniyeh.
The survey was conducted among 1,200 Palestinian respondents with a margin of error of 3%.
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