Angus Reid Global Monitor
December 18, 2008 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has lost support but remains the preferred choice to govern for many people in the Palestinian Territories, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. 48 per cent of respondents would vote for Fatah leader Abbas in the next presidential election, down five points since August.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is second with 39 per cent. 14 per cent of respondents are undecided.

Abbas won the January 2005 presidential ballot in the Palestinian Territories with 62.32 per cent of all cast ballots. In January 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council election, securing 74 of the 112 seats at stake. Haniyeh officially took over as prime minister in March. The Israeli government believes Hamas is directly responsible for the deaths of 377 citizens in a variety of attacks, which include dozens of suicide bombings.

In February 2007, Hamas and Fatah leaders reached an accord which set the guidelines for a power-sharing Palestinian administration, headed by Hamas. In June, amid a wave of violent clashes between Hamas and Fatah factions, Hamas militants seized control of Gaza. Abbas issued a decree to form a 12-member emergency government based in the West Bank and expelled Hamas from the administration. Fatah member Salam Fayyad was appointed as prime minister by Abbas.

Abbas recently said he plans to extend his tenure until 2010. The extension is part of an Egypt-sponsored plan to foster reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. The current presidential term is due to end in January 2009.

On Dec. 16, Abbas suggested that a snap election could be on the way, saying, "We will call for parliamentary and presidential elections soon, very soon, in the West Bank and Gaza."

Polling Data

If a presidential election were to take place today, and Mahmoud Abbas were nominated by Fatah and Ismail Haniyeh were nominated by Hamas, who would you vote for?

Dec. 2008

Aug. 2008

Sept. 2007

Mahmoud Abbas




Ismail Haniyeh




Not sure




Source: Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 1,270 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.


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