(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) If Palestinians were to vote for their president today, they would elect Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh over Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a recent poll shows.
The survey of 1,270 people, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, found that 48 percent of respondents would have voted for Haniyeh while 45 percent backed Abbas. The results differ from similar polls taken last month, before Operation Pillar of Defense, in which 51 percent backed Abbas and 40 percent voted for Haniyeh.
It appears that the Palestine Liberation Organization has candidates more popular than its current chairman Mahmoud Abbas. When respondents were asked to choose between Haniyeh and senior PLO member Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving five life sentences in Israeli prison for taking part in multiple deadly terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada, 51 percent of those polled chose Barghouti, and 42 percent Haniyeh.
Survey editors explained the rise of support for Hamas’ prime minister as a result of the perception that Hamas defeated Israel in Operation Pillar of Defense. Hamas fired rockets at central Israel for the first time during the operation, and while most were intercepted by the IDF's Iron Dome system, the unprecedented attacks netted Hamas a propaganda victory.