'Barghouti would beat Abbas, Haniyeh in election'

Survey of Palestinians in W. Bank, Gaza shows Hamas popularity on rise while Fatah dropping.

Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311 (photo credit: Oleg Popov / Reuters)
Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311
(photo credit: Oleg Popov / Reuters)
Convicted Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five life terms in Israeli prison for his role in several terror attacks during the second intifada, would win a presidential election against both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a poll released this week found.
The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, shows clear improvement in the standing of Haniyeh and Hamas during the second quarter of 2012, while Abbas and his Fatah movement have declined in popularity during the same period.
If an election between Abbas and Haniyeh were held today, Abbas would receive 49 percent of the vote versus Haniyeh’s 44%, according to the poll. Three months ago, Abbas received the support of 54% and Haniyeh 42%.
The survey found that if the presidential elections were between Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former would receive 60% and the latter would receive 34% of the participants’ votes.
If the presidential elections were between all three candidates – Abbas, Barghouti and Haniyeh – the poll found that Barghouti would receive the highest percentage of votes (37%), followed by Haniyeh (33%) and Abbas (25%).
If Barghouti were to remain in prison and a Fatah candidate to replace Abbas were needed, assuming Abbas would not run, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat polled as the most likely candidate to replace him (17%).
When asked about the arrests of journalists and blocking of Internet sites by the PA that took place in the weeks preceding the poll, 88% of respondents opposed such moves, while 7% supported the measures. A vast majority (86%) of those polled thought that the crackdown on journalist and bloggers in the West Bank caused harm to the Palestinian cause in international public opinion. Twothirds of respondents said that they feel they are living in an undemocratic system that quells freedoms, while only 29% said they feel they live in a democratic system that protects freedoms.
Those polled were largely dissatisfied (71%) that Fatah and Hamas had thus far failed in their reconciliation efforts and the majority of respondents did not believe that unity would be achieved in the near future.
Nearly a third (32%) of respondents believed that a reconciliation government would never be formed, while 47% said they thought it would be formed, but only after a long time.
When asked what the most serious problem facing Palestinians today was, 27% of respondents said it was the continuation of the occupation and settlement activities, while 26% said it was the spread of poverty and unemployment. An additional 24% of those polled thought the Palestinians’ most serious problem was the absence of national unity due to the West Bank-Gaza Strip split, 15% said corruption in some public institutions and 8% answered that it was the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings.
The poll was conducted between June 21-23 among 1,200 adult Palestinians interviewed face-to-face in 120 randomly selected locations in the West Bank and Gaza.