The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research quarterly public opinion poll shows a certain decline in support for Hamas and the “armed resistance”

Was Hamas' decision to attack on October 7, 2023, correct?
Overview[1]
  • On March 20, 2024, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), headed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki, published the main findings of the quarterly survey of the opinions of the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip between March 5 and 10, 2024. It was the second survey conducted by the institute during the war in the Gaza Strip. The poll’s sample size was 1,580 adults who were interviewed face-to-face, of whom 830 were from 83 places in Judea and Samaria and 750 from the Gaza Strip,.
  • The survey editors stated that the survey in the Gaza Strip was conducted under restricted conditions and that to ensure the integrity of the data collections, the interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip were limited to specific areas where there was no daily fighting. The areas included Rafah, parts of the Khan Yunis area, the center of the Gaza Strip and all the shelters where residents of those areas live. Due to the war, the survey was not carried out in the northern Gaza Strip, in parts of the central Gaza Strip and in parts of the Khan Yunis area where there was daily fighting or an Israeli military presence.
  • Several conclusions arose from the survey findings:
    • A decrease was recorded both in Judea and Samaria and in the Gaza Strip in the level of support for Hamas and the “armed resistance” [terrorism]: the percentage of Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip dropped from 42% in December 2023 to 34% in the current survey, and in Judea and Samaria from 44% to 35%. Support for the “armed struggle” to achieve Palestinian goals decreased in the Gaza Strip by 17% from 68% to 39% and in Judea and Samaria by 17% from 68% to 51%.
    • Some of the answers showed trust in Hamas was gaining strength in the Gaza Strip. For example, the percentage of those who believed Hamas would emerge victorious from the war increased by 6% to 56%, while in Judea and Samaria the percentage decreased by 14% to 69%. The support for Hamas’ decision to launch an attack on October 7 also decreased among the respondents in Judea and Samaria by 11% compared to the survey conducted in December 2023 but still stood at a high 71%. In the Gaza Strip, the rate of support for the decision increased by 14% and also stood at 71%.
    • Similar to the previous survey, 55% in the Gaza Strip reported that they did not have enough food; 70% of the respondents living in shelters in the Gaza Strip reported that the distribution of food was affected by political affiliation and carried out unfairly.
    • Regarding the effect of the war on the internal Palestinian balance of power, the survey indicated a significant change compared to the previous survey, in that only a third of the Palestinians supported Hamas. The decrease was almost equal in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. However, Fatah did not benefit from the drop in support for Hamas, and its support remained unchanged from the previous survey.
Further Information[2]
  • Was Hamas’ decision to attack on October 7, 2023 correct: an overwhelming majority of 71%, compared to 72% in December 2023, were in favor of launching an attack and justified it. However, although the overall response remained stable, the findings showed a significant change, with a decrease in Judea and Samaria and an increase in the Gaza Strip.
Was Hamas' decision to attack on October 7, 2023, correct?
Was Hamas’ decision to attack on October 7, 2023, correct?
  • A ceasefire: While half of the residents of Judea and Samaria were optimistic about an imminent ceasefire, only slightly more than a quarter of the residents of the Gaza Strip expressed the same expectation. A high percentage of the residents of the Gaza Strip (38%) expected the war to continue. Surprisingly, however, while fewer residents of Judea and Samaria expected Hamas to win, compared to three months ago, among residents of the Gaza Strip, the belief that Israel would win the war dropped by a third.
  • The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip: Only 44% of the residents of the Gaza Strip reported they had enough food for a day or two and 55% said they did not. The findings were almost identical with the findings of the previous survey. Only 19% of Gaza residents said they could get to a place where they had access to aid; 77% said they could but with great difficulty or risk; 4% said they could not. Regarding the identity of those responsible for the aid, the majority (62%) answered UNRWA, 15% said it was a government, 13% said a local Palestinian group and 8% named another international organization.
Distribution of answers according to assisting organization
Distribution of answers according to assisting organization
  • The fairness in the distribution of aid to the displaced residents who are currently in shelters: The vast majority (70%) said that the division was discriminatory and only 27% said it was fair. The most complaints (90%) came from those in shelters organized by local Palestinian groups, followed by those organized by UNRWA, other international organizations and the government.
The distribution of answers regarding the fairness of the aid distribution
The distribution of answers regarding the fairness of the aid distribution
  • A majority of 64% (compared to 52% three months ago) blamed Israel for the current suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip. 20% (26% three months ago) blamed the US; only 7% (11% three months ago) blamed Hamas, and 6% (9% three months ago) blamed the Palestinian Authority (PA). The percentage of residents of the Gaza Strip who blamed Hamas dropped from 19% to 9%.
  • Who will win the war?: The vast majority (64%) claimed Hamas would win, but slightly fewer than three months ago (70%). More residents of the Gaza Strip expected a Hamas victory than did three months ago, 56% compared to 50%, compared to fewer residents of Judea and Samaria, of whom 69% expected Hamas to win, compared to 83% three months ago.
  • “The day after:” 59% (64% in Judea and Samaria and 52% in Gaza) were of the opinion that Hamas would control the Gaza Strip, a slight decrease compared to three months ago. Only 5% were of the opinion that the IDF would be in control; 9% chose the PA under the control of Mahmoud Abbas, and an additional 9% chose the PA without Mahmoud Abbas; 2% chose one or more Arab countries; and 2% chose the United Nations.
Who will control the Gaza Strip "the day after?"
Who will control the Gaza Strip “the day after?”
  • Satisfaction with leaders: Satisfaction with Hamas and Yahya al-Sinwar remained very high while satisfaction with Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas remained low. There was an increase in support for Marwan al-Barghouthi. If “presidential” elections were held today and the candidates were Mahmoud Abbas, Isma’il Haniyeh and Marwan Barghouthi, Barghouthi would win. In a runoff election between Barghouthi and Haniyeh, Barghouthi would win more than 60% of the votes. In a contest between Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas, Haniyeh would get 70% of the votes.
  • The resignation of Muhammad Shtayyeh’s government: The resignation of the PA government was not viewed as a sign of reform and the overwhelming majority rejected the appointment of Muhammad Mustafa as prime minister. More than 60% of the public wanted a government which would not be controlled by a political party or Mahmoud Abbas. Two-thirds continued to express the opinion that the PA was a burden on the Palestinian people and the majority was in favor of its dissolution.
  • South Africa’s activities: The vast majority expressed satisfaction with the South Africa’s efforts to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and accuse it of genocide. Two thirds of the public expressed dissatisfaction with the court’s decision not to ask Israel to abide by a ceasefire. Moreover, less than 40% believed the ICJ would ultimately convict Israel of genocide. However, even if Israel was convicted, more than 70% of Palestinians thought it would have no impact on the continued “occupation” of the Palestinian territories.

[1] Click https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en to subscribe and receive the ITIC's daily updates as well as its other publications.
[2] Public Opinion Poll No (91) | PCPSR