Poll No. 96 - COVID-19 and Israeli Annexation
Israeli annexation would undermine the two-state solution
A public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC) in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, showed that if Israel goes through with its threats to annex parts of the West Bank, this would have a negative impact on the two-state solution. 45.3% of respondents said annexation would not leave any chance for the two-state solution, while 20.4% said there was a small chance for it and 22.6% who have the opinion that a two state solution will still be possible if the annexation plan goes through.
In regards to the Palestinian leadership’s response to annexation by withdrawing from signed agreements with Israel, 53.9% of respondents said the leadership would renege on this position, while 26.6% said they would adhere to it.
One year after the government’s formation, the public is satisfied with its performance
Almost one year after the formation of Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh’s government, the majority of those polled, 71.6%, said they were satisfied with its performance, while 28.4% said they were dissatisfied. In general, 44.3% said the performance of this government has improved, and 10.7% said its performance has become worse, while 45% said it has not changed. As terms of security, 37.3% said they felt security and internal security has improved while 40.8% said it has not changed after the new government and 21.9% of respondents said their sense of security has deteriorated.
The people want elections and Shtayyeh has the best chance at winning
Elections continue to be a major popular demand. The poll showed that the majority of respondents, 79%, believe it is important to hold legislative elections, while 15.8% said it was not important. Furthermore, the majority, 83% said it was important to hold presidential elections, while 13% said this was not important.
If elections were held today and President Mahmoud Abbas was not running, the person who would have the best chance at winning would be Mohammed Shtayyeh, according to 11.5% of those polled, followed by Marwan Barghouthi, at 6.8% and then Ismail Haniyeh at 3.6% while the percentage of those who didn’t know was 63.4%.
As for the chances of success for parties and factions if legislative elections are held, the percentage of those who said they would vote for Fatah dropped to 29.9% in this poll from 35.6% in August, 2019. Likewise, the percentage of those who said they would vote for Hamas dropped to 5.5% from 12.3% in August of last year. This drop in the percentage of votes for the two major parties could be attributed to the noticeable rise in the percentage of those who said they would not vote for anyone, which was 39.7% in this poll, up from 34.5% in August, 2019. Furthermore, the percentage of those who said they do not know who they would vote for rose to 15.2% in this poll from 5.7% in August, 2019. It should be noted that the majority of those polled, 93.3% called for a youth quota in upcoming elections and 85.5% called for a women’s quota.
Social security is a popular demand
The majority of respondents, 94.6% said having a social security that includes medical insurance, retirement and unemployment benefits was important, while 5.4% said it was not important. The coronavirus pandemic seems to have made people more aware of the need for social security, with the majority of those polled, 84.2% saying that in light of the pandemic, they support a social security law while 15.8% said they opposed it.
Low confidence in political leaders
President Mahmoud Abbas maintained the largest percentage of people’s trust at 13.3%, followed by Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh at 8.1%, Marwan Barghouthi at 4% and Ismail Haniyeh, who saw a decrease in the level of public trust from 8.3% in August of last year to 3.1% in this poll.
Pessimism regarding reconciliation
The majority of the public are still pessimistic regarding the possibility of reaching reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. The poll showed that the majority of respondents, 61.8% do not expect reconciliation to be reached before the end of the year, while 27.1% said they expected it to be reached within this time. Regarding Hamas’ relationship with the PLO, 53.2% of those polled said they believe Hamas should be part of the PLO while 29.8% said it should not.
The public is convinced there is corruption and nepotism in PNA institutions
The percentage of respondents who believe there is corruption in PNA institutions rose in this poll to 76.3% after it was 71.8% in August of last year. Moreover, 48.3% of respondents said there was considerable nepotism in the provision of public services, with 33.3% saying there was nepotism to some extent, 13% who said there was nepotism to a low extent and only 5.4% who said there was no nepotism at all in the provision of public services.
The public’s satisfaction with the performance of the PNA
It is apparent that the way in which the coronavirus pandemic was handled and the clear stance against Israeli annexation were two reasons behind the people’s satisfaction with the PNA. The poll showed an improvement in the level of the people’s satisfaction with the performance of the PNA and its president, whereby the percentage of those who were very and somewhat satisfied with the performance of the PNA President was 64.8% in this poll compared to 38.3% in March, 2019 and 52.4% in August, 2015.
Similarly, the percentage of those who consider the PNA’s performance as good rose to 68.2% in comparison to 57.5% in July, 2018 and 57.4% in August, 2015.
A random sample of 1200 people over the age of 18 was interviewed throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip between the 3rd and 9th of June 2020. The interviews were conducted randomly through phone, and the respondents inside each home were also selected randomly according to Kish tables in all governorates of the West Bank as follows: