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last updated Jan. 18, 2010
published Jan. 5, 1998
Poll No. 26, May 1998 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards Politics
Read more:  peace process, Palestinian politics, factions, Palestinian politicians, Oslo accords, Palestinian Authority, governance, Palestinian Legislative Council, parliament, public opinion
Summary: Introduction

The results of JMCC’s opinion poll May 21-22, 1998, indicate to decrease in support for the peace process and for the Palestinian Authority in general, despite the fact that those supporting the peace process and the PA are more than those opposing them. The main results can be summarized as follows, in comparison with the previous poll with the same questions:

• Despite the fact that the majority of Palestinians remained optimistic, there was a drop in the percentage of optimists from 72.4% last November to 65.6% in May, 1998.

• There was a decrease in the majority of those supporting the peace process in general from 74.2% in November, 1997 to 63.7% in May, 1998.

• A decrease in the percentage of those who have confidence in President Yasser Arafat from 46.4% last November to 38.7% in May, 1998 while there was a rise in the percentage of those who trust Sheikh Ahmad Yaseen from 5.8% last November to 8.4% in May 1998. It seems probable that the rise in confidence in Sheikh Yaseen is attributed to the media focus on his rcent Arab tour.

• One of the main significant changes shown in this poll is the notable rise in the number of Palestinians who do not trust any of the political or religious factions or figures. The percentage of those who do not trust any of the political or religious factions increased from 17.3% last November to 29.1% in May, 1998 while those who do not trust any of the political or religious figures increased from 16.9% in November, 1997 to 24.8% in May.

• Regarding confidence in Fateh, the most popular movement among the Palestinian people, the percentage, which was 40.9% last November, dropped to 32.9% in May 1998.

• The percentage of Palestinians who trust Hamas dropped to its somewhat consistent rate of 13.3% in May, 1998 compared to 17.3% last November. It should be noted that the percentage of those who trust Hamas was 11.3% in July 1997 and 10.3% in May 1997. The abrupt increase in November, 1997 (17.3%) seems to have been temporary, resulting from special events, such as the assassination attempt against one of its leaders in Amman and the release of Sheikh Ahmad Yaseen, in addition to the broad media coverage.

• Assessment of the performance of the Palestinian Authority registered a slight retreat from 71.4% last November to 64.6% in May 1998.

• Palestinian public appraisal regarding the performance of the Palestinian Legislative Council showed a slight improvement from 56.7% who viewed it as good or very good last July to 52.2% in May, 1998.
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