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Hamas took control of the Gaza strip in 2007, expelling the rival Fatah organization, and since then controlling the area. I couldn't find any evidence of anyone trying to hold elections since then. It seems there are elections in the PA.

Seeing that under Hamas' rule the situation in Gaza had deteriorated, as opposed to other parts of the Palestinian Authority, I am curious if that had affected Hamas' popularity at all.

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    The (East Jerusalem) based PSR also has a bunch of polls about Hamas pcpsr.org/en/search/node/Hamas but I don't have the time to read through them right now. Oct 19, 2023 at 14:52
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    Not to invalidate this Q or answers. But, at least these last 2 weeks, that could really be seen as 2 possible questions. #1 Do Palestinians support local governance in Gaza by Hamas? #2 Do Palestinians support Hamas attacks on Israel? It is very possible that the answers would diverge widely if asked on a poll. It is even possible that Palestinians agree with the attack but disagree with Hamas putting them in harms way. Oct 19, 2023 at 15:49
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    I can't imagine that there has been an opportunity to conduct meaningful and accurate polling in Gaza since the most recent Hamas attack, so any information provided will be outdated.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 19, 2023 at 17:11
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica yes, this question is ambiguous. Oct 20, 2023 at 11:32
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    Can an ordinary person in Gaza safely voice opposition to Hamas?
    – EvilSnack
    Oct 20, 2023 at 15:34

3 Answers 3

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A recent (July 2023) survey implies Hamas were not popular vs the Palestinian Authority

TLDR;

  • 70% support the PA over Hamas
  • 62% support maintaining a ceasefire (i.e. would disagree with Hamas' current course of action)
  • 58% have at least a somewhat positive view of Hamas independent of their opinion of the PA

Supporting quotes:

most Gazans expressed a preference for PA administration and security officials over Hamas—the majority of Gazans (70%) supported a proposal of the PA sending “officials and security officers to Gaza to take over the administration there, with Hamas giving up separate armed units,” including 47% who strongly agreed.

The below shows the support for the Palestinian Authority taking control vs Hamas over time:

Support for Hamas VS PA over time

The next quotes imply the recent activity would not have been popular with Palestinians in Gaza, the majority of which instead support a two-state solution.

While the majority of Gazans (65%) did think it likely that there would be “a large military conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza” this year, a similar percentage (62%) supported Hamas maintaining a ceasefire with Israel.

Moreover, half (50%) agreed with the following proposal: “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.”

However, Hamas does have some positive views when queried alone (rather than vs the PA) with 58% having a somewhat positive view when queried back in July 2023. Though it is worth mentioning they are the least positively viewed out of the five groups on the survey.

Gazan views on Political/Armed groups


Its worth noting that the research this answer is based on was carried out by the PCPO (Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion) who are based in the West bank, not in Gaza. Obviously there is room for bias and sampling issues and looking and the answers below its clear there isn't a consensus between polls so whilst these answers may provide some insight it is by no means the final word on current Gazan opinions - especially given recent events.

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    FWTW, as mentioned in that piece, the poll was commissioned to the PCPO pcpo.ps/index.php/polls Doesn't say much about sampling. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the PCPO is not based in Gaza, but in the West Bank (Beit Sahour). That doesn't necessarily make their polling/conclusions invalid though. Oct 19, 2023 at 14:46
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    @Fizz how did they poll? Did they poll people who were physically outside of Gaza (workers, etc)? Or did they make phone calls? Or what?
    – Anixx
    Oct 20, 2023 at 5:15
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    I have looked at such polls in the past, but I could never take them seriously because the responses may very well be under duress. I suppose you could claim that the results are lower bounds. Alternatively, though, there's a "statement against interest" component for responses. Do respondents recognize that the responses will be used to calibrate Western policy?
    – popham
    Oct 20, 2023 at 6:23
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    For context, Hamas does a lot of civilian charity work besides their military and terrorist activities. People who would suffer from hunger without the charity work by Hamas would be forgiven to have a somewhat positive view of Hamas.
    – gerrit
    Oct 20, 2023 at 6:32
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    @gerrit Granted, most of those wouldn't be suffering from hunger in the first place if not for the actions of Hamas and the very predictable international (especially Israeli, but also Egyptian and plenty of other countries') responses to those actions.
    – reirab
    Oct 21, 2023 at 23:49
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TBH this seems to vary a fair bit with events on the ground, so it's hard to draw firm conclusions (esp. from one poll)

Figure (5): Voting intentions before and after the May 2021 war between Hamas and Israel (PCPSR’s polls # 79, March 2021 and # 80, June 2021)

enter image description here

If the Ramallah based [PC]PSR is to be believed, Hamas surged from around 30% to 40% popularity after the 2021 fighting, while the opposite happened to Fatah's popularity.

They have a lot more polls with the keyword 'Hamas' if someone feels like diving into deeper. Some of it is not too reassuring, e.g. in 2014

79% believe[d] that Hamas has won the Gaza War. [...] 49% think it is justified for Hamas to launch rockets from populated areas and 46% disagree with that.

And from late 2021

Fatah is more popular than Hamas (38% to 30%) in West Bank cities which will participate in the second phase of local elections while Hamas is more popular than Fatah (47% to 29%) in the cities in the Gaza Strip that might participate in the second phase of local elections.

So overall analysis of Palestinians (as in the PCPO poll from the other answer) might not be too conclusive wrt to Gaza's population.

As for PA's authority... I get a totally different vibe from a May 2023 poll by PSR:

Armed escalation and a third intifada:

  • 71% support the formation of armed groups
  • 86% say the PA does not have the right to arrest members of these armed groups

71% of the public (79% in the Gaza Strip and 66% in the West Bank) say they are in favor of forming armed groups such as the “Lions’ Den” and the “Jenin Battalion,” which do not take orders from the PA and are not part of the PA security services;

So, I'm pretty skeptical people support PA that much. It might be context-dependent.


This is the same pollster on the ground (PSR) but contracted by the Western (mostly Princeton-based) Arab Barometer, with more pointed questions about Hamas governing:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Alas the date of the poll is not exactly clear, besides the year.

Overall, the survey responses indicate that Gazans desire political change. In an eight-point decline since 2021, just 26 percent said the government was very (three percent) or largely (23 percent) responsive to the needs of the people. When asked what is the most effective way for ordinary people to influence the government, a plurality said “nothing is effective.” The next most popular answer was to use personal connections to reach a government official. Most Gazans saw no avenue for publicly expressing their grievances with the Hamas-led government. Only 40 percent said that freedom of expression was guaranteed to a great or moderate extent, and 68 percent believed that the right to participate in a peaceful protest was not protected or was protected only to a limited extent under Hamas rule.

This poll even finds that Fatah has [marginally] more support in Gaza than Hamas (no margin of error is reported though):

enter image description here

[...] Given the low opinion most Gazans hold of their government, it is unsurprising that their disapproval extends to Hamas as a political party. Just 27 percent of respondents selected Hamas as their preferred party, slightly less than the proportion who favored Fatah (30 percent), the party that is led by Abbas and that governs the West Bank. Hamas’s popularity in Gaza has slipped as well, falling from 34 percent support in the 2021 survey. There is notable demographic variation in the recent responses, too. Thirty-three percent of adults under 30 expressed support for Hamas, compared with 23 percent of those 30 and older. And poorer Gazans were less likely than their wealthier counterparts to support Hamas. Among those who cannot cover their basic expenses, just 25 percent favored the party in power. Among those who can, the figure rose to 33 percent. The fact that the people most affected by dire economic conditions and those who remember life before Hamas rule were more likely to reject the party underlines the limits of Gazans’ support for Hamas’s movement.


There are some new numbers posted by WaPo on Dec 25. Some might be shocked, but this war had a similar effect as some past ones. Hamas' popularity increased, and that of the PA decreased:

Some 88 percent of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, the poll indicated, up 10 points from three months ago. The popularity of Hamas in the West Bank, meanwhile, has soared from 12 percent to 44 percent, wile also rising slightly in Gaza.

Alas, I wasn't able to quickly find more details on that poll.

I suppose it might be this PCPSR poll from late Nov which reported similar results:

Support for Hamas has more than tripled in the West Bank compared to three months ago. In the Gaza Strip, support for Hamas increased but not significantly. Despite the increase in its popularity, the majority in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not support Hamas. It is worth noting that support for Hamas usually rises temporarily during or immediately after a war and then returns to the previous level several months after the end of the war.

Support for President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fateh party drops significantly. The same is true for the trust in the PA as a whole, as demand for its dissolution rises to nearly 60%, the highest percentage ever recorded in PSR polls. Demand for Abbas's resignation is rising to around 90 percent, and even higher in the West Bank. Despite the decline in support for Fatah and Abbas, the most popular Palestinian figure remains Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader. Barghouti is still able to beat Hamas’ candidate Ismail Haniyeh or any other.

Another interesting point there, perhaps:

While the vast majority of West Bankers (70%) thinks Hamas will emerge victorious in this war, only half of Gazans think the same.

Also, that notion of victory is slightly different from retaining power

72% (80% in the West Bank and 61% in the Gaza Strip) think Hamas will succeed in returning to rule over the Gaza Strip after the war despite Israel’s declared objective of eradicating that organization.

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    That graph would probably be so much easier to read if they had made a first group for one date and a second group for the other date.
    – jcaron
    Oct 20, 2023 at 13:25
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According to the only reputable Palestinian pollster PCPSR:

If new presidential elections were held today and only two were nominated, Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, only 46% would participate and from among those, Abbas would receive 36% and Haniyeh 52% of the votes (compared to 54% for Haniyeh and 36% for Abbas three months ago). In the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 35% of the votes and Haniyeh receives 61%. In the West Bank, Abbas receives 37% and Haniyeh 43%. If the competition was between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, participation would increase to 62% and from among those, Barghouti receives 58% and Haniyeh 37%. If the competition is between Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Haniyyeh, participation rate would decrease to 43% and from among those, the former receives 29% and the latter 60%. ...

If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all factions that participated in the 2006 elections, 67% say they would participate. Of those who would participate, 33% say they will vote for Hamas and 35% say they will vote for Fatah, 9% will vote for all third parties combined, and 22% are undecided. Three months ago, vote for Hamas stood at 34% and Fatah at 34%. Vote for Hamas in the Gaza Strip stands today at 45% (compared to 43% three months ago) and for Fatah at 32% (compared to 30% three months ago). In the West Bank, vote for Hamas stands at 23% (compared to 26% three months ago) and Fatah at 38% (compared to 38% three months ago).

Note that polling in Western countries is notoriously difficult and that many pollsters have obvious biases. This is of course even more true in Palestine.

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    The first paragraph could be helpfully expanded with a a description of who all those candidates are, i.e. which are Hamas, or Fatah, or whatever else.
    – jcaron
    Oct 20, 2023 at 13:23
  • It looks like the these polling results were published March 2023, is that right?
    – Xantix
    Oct 20, 2023 at 18:20
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    @jcaron; Abbas = Fatah Leader, Haniyeh = Hamas Leader, Barghouti = Convicted Fatah Terrorist serving five lifetime prison terms for five people he murdered.
    – Jacob3
    Nov 9, 2023 at 22:49

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