In a news article published by AP news the following statements are made.

Despite the devastation, 57% of respondents in Gaza and 82% in the West Bank believe Hamas was correct in launching the October attack, the poll indicated. A large majority believed Hamas’ claims that it acted to defend a major Islamic shrine in Jerusalem against Jewish extremists and win the release of Palestinian prisoners. Only 10% said they believed Hamas has committed war crimes, with a large majority saying they did not see videos showing the militants committing atrocities.

The survey was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. I have no idea about the quality or affiliation of said institution. Are the reported numbers reliable?

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    Without details about how the poll was conducted this question will be impossible to answer. Commented Jan 29 at 6:11
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    A similar question about this survey was posted on Skeptics.SE
    – Bobson
    Commented Jan 29 at 10:48
  • I suggest that you look into incitement and indoctrination for Jihad in the Hamas run education system instead ... to get to what you probably want to get a sense of it may get you closer
    – matanox
    Commented Jan 29 at 14:23
  • Without delving into the poll's specifics, which an answer does quite well, there have been a number of news articles stating that, yes, Hamas gets a fair bit of increased support from West Bankers, over the PA. And some of those articles even predated this poll so what it says doesn't seem to diverge all that much from previously reported sentiments. Commented Jan 29 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


Is the PCPSR December 13 poll methodologically reliable?
This poll has been much talked about and the full report can be found at PCPSR page. The poll seems to have been carried out using appropriate procedures, as described in the report:

The sample size of this poll is 1231 adults, of whom 750 were interviewed face to face in the West Bank and 481 in the Gaza Strip in 121 randomly selected locations. The sample is representative of the residents of the two areas. Due to the war in the Gaza Strip, we conducted interviews in the central and southern regions inside the selected sample homes, with the exception of one displaced area, where residents were interviewed in the shelter area where they had taken refuge. As for the northern Gaza Strip, residents were interviewed in 24 shelter locations, of which 20 belonged to UNRWA and 4 to governmental institutions. A total of 250 interviews were conducted in these shelters, and another 21 were conducted in the homes of relatives and friends of displaced people from the north. Despite the large representative sample, the margin of error for this poll is +/-4. The increase in the margin of error is due to the lack of precision regarding the number of residents who stayed in their homes, or in shelters, in the northern parts of the Gaza Strip which we did not sample.

There are obvious difficulties in conducting a survey and getting reliable answers in a war zone. Moreover, one should be always skeptical about the opinion polls in regions that are run by dictatorships or totalitarian regimes - which is the case in Gaza - as the respondents risk to be punished for expressing disapproval of the authority. This is exacerbated by the war conditions, where one can be easily denied the basic life necessities, such as access to food and shelter.

Does the poll correctly represent the attitudes in Gaza?
The poll in question is very detailed, which permitted its findings to be cherry-picked to support both pro- and anti-Hamas views. E.g., while the support for Hamas is significant, it is still less than the majority of the population... even though majority does believe that Hamas would gain in strength as the result of the war:

Support for Hamas increases in the West Bank from 12% three months ago to 44%; in the Gaza Strip support for Hamas rises from 38% three months ago to 42% today.


70% of West Bankers and half of Gazans expect Hamas to emerge victorious

There is also obvious discrepancy between the results in Gaza and the West Bank, less affected by the war:

75% of West Bankers and 38% of Gazans prefer Hamas to remain in control of the Gaza Strip after the war

Denial of October 7 atrocities
One of the key finding is the Gazans' refusal to believe that atrocities were committed by Hamas on October 7:

85% have not seen videos showing atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians on October 7, and only 7% say Hamas committed atrocities against Israeli civilians.

There is no reason to suspect this finding, although one cannot be sure of the exact numbers. Indeed, this attitude is widespread among Palestinians and their supporters in the Arab world and beyond. Just to give a few examples:

Gazans certainly have difficulty to accept the facts - firstly because they lack access to reliable information, but mostly because they don't have the luxury of taking a calm and detached view of the reality. If they do not believe that their own goodness, what else could they believe in, while facing everyday risk of getting killed?

Such a denial is harder to understand for somebody living in safety and prosperity - the incompatibility of such support with western values is largely covered by the discussion around the similar views expressed on major US campuses.

From a more recent poll by Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, regarding the attitudes to the Gaza war in 16 Arab countries:

While 67% of respondents reported that the military operation carried out by Hamas was a legitimate resistance operation, 19% reported that it was a somewhat flawed but legitimate resistance operation, and 3% said that it was a legitimate resistance operation that involved heinous or criminal acts, while 5% said it was an illegitimate operation.

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    I looked at the "October 7 fact check" site, and more than denial, I would say it primarily engages in what I might describe as "downplaying": relatively neutral presentations of facts, but generally while look for an angle that can be used to call them into question. For instance, they might mention that someone consistently reported sexual assaults, but suggest that this is undermined somewhat because someone else who was with them did not, and their topline conclusions are more "it's unclear what really happened" then "Hamas did nothing wrong."
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jan 29 at 9:06
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    Basically, trying to find angles by which Hamas can be absolved of systemic blame for any atrocities, while not necessarily denying that Hamas soldiers might have committed some. The "a few bad apples" treatment mixed with "fog of war."
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jan 29 at 9:07
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    To @Obie2.0's point, I will note that the topline numbers say "85% haven't seen video, 7% say there were atrocities", which implies that these are two opposite answers (with the other 8% being 'not sure' or something) but when you get down into the details, it's actually two separate questions, and seeing video convinces 28% of the respondents overall (3->31%) and 33% of those in Gaza (8->41%) that there were such atrocities. So there is definitely a slant to the reporting, even if the poll itself is fine.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jan 29 at 9:30
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    70% of West Bankers and half of Gazans expect Hamas to emerge victorious - I wonder what definition of victory they're using. Does "victory" just mean "avoiding complete annihilation" here, or does it mean making actual political or geographic gains, or achieving some specific political goal?
    – TKoL
    Commented Jan 29 at 13:10
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    @TKoL Israel's war aim is to completely annihilate Hamas (which is imo impossible), so if they fail at doing so, Hamas can claim victory.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jan 29 at 17:03

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