Various polls predict Fatah win over Hamas on national ticket
Fatah is expected to garner 42 percent of the Palestinian vote, and Hamas 35 percent, according to an opinion poll.
Fatah is expected to garner 42 percent of the Palestinian vote, and Hamas 35 percent, according to an opinion poll released in Ramallah on Saturday. Leading the smaller parties is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti's leftist list Independent Palestine, with 5 percent, followed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Third Way, led by outgoing finance minister Salem Fayed, with 3 percent each. Last on the list is the leftist list Badil, consisting of the Democratic Front, the People's Party, and Fida with 2 percent.
The poll, with a particularly large sample of 4,516 and supervised by a research institute headed by Dr. Khalil Shkaki who has run surveys in the territories for the past few years, is considered reliable. Only 7 percent of those polled said they were still undecided as to who they were voting for. A gap of 7 percent in favor of Fatah would be considered great, since public opinion polls conducted recently in the territories by other research institutes predicted a smaller gap between Fatah and Hamas.
There are five research institutes conducting opinion polls in Gaza and the West Bank, and their results are considered to be of varying degrees of reliability. However they all agreed in recent weeks that Fatah has the lead over Hamas, which is running under the name Change and Reform, and that Mahmoud Barghouti's Independent Palestine is running at a distant third.
It seems very possible that the various surveys are correctly predicting a Fatah win.
A poll conducted last week by the Jerusalem Media Institute, also considered reliable, predicted only a 2-percent lead for Fatah, over Hamas (32 percent to 30). A survey conducted almost two weeks ago by Bir Zeit University and also considered dependable, has predicted a 35 percent lead for Fatah to Hamas' 30 percent. It is possible that the trend is changing; in a poll conducted 10 days ago by Dr. Nabil Kokali of Bethlehem, Fatah had a 13 percent lead over Hamas (40 percent to 27 percent).
The main problem for pollsters is that voters will be casting two ballots on Wednesday.
One will be for the list they support, and the other for the names of the individuals from their local district, many of whom are considered independents. Shkaki's poll published Saturday questioned voters on their local choices, revealing that Fatah would make a strong showing in Ramallah, Qalqilya, Khan Yunis, and Rafah, while Hamas was strong in Gaza, Jabalya, Dir al-Balah, Hebron and Tul Karm. In the other major population areas, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin and Jerusalem, the two parties are neck-and-neck. In other words, while Fatah is likely to win on the national ticket, Hamas seems to be leading in various districts.