Poll: Hamas’s Haniyeh Would Easily Beat Abbas

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, Dec. 22. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

A Ramallah-based polling firm found in a new poll that if elections were held in Gaza and in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Yehudah and Shomron today, Hamas Gaza head Ismail Haniyeh would beat PA chief Mahmoud Abbas. The poll of 1,300 PA Arabs and residents of Arab neighborhoods of Yersuahalayim was conducted of a representative sample of the population, according to the Halal Shkaki polling organization, Kan News reported.

The poll had 49 percent of PA Arabs choosing Haniyeh to lead the PA, compared to 42 percent for Abbas. According to the firm, the new poll shows a significant deterioration in the position of Abbas, as in the last poll he led Haniyeh by 2 percent. In PA-controlled areas of Yehudah and Shomron, Abbas still leads by 5 percent, less than in the past, but in Gaza, Haniyeh’s popularity has grown significantly in recent months.

Hamas would also do very well in PA parliament elections. Fatah, Abbas’s terror group, would get 34 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections, but Hamas is right behind, with 33 percent, the poll shows. The previous poll, taken three months ago, had Fatah leading by 9 percent, as even among Fatah supporters, there was a desire to see Fatah led by someone else. Overall, two-thirds of PA Arabs wanted Abbas to resign his position. Elections have not been held in the PA since 2006.

On Saturday, Abbas said he would dissolve the PA parliament, which is controlled by Hamas. Hamas and Islamic Jihad slammed Abbas for the announcement, saying that he was “destroying Palestinian institutions and burning the ship with all of us on board,” Kan News reported.