2000 Opinion Poll #1

  Poll No.1  
Public Opinion Poll 1:  Priorities under a Palestinian State: Integrity & Objectivity 31 August – 2 September 2000
Date of release: September 7, 2000
Date of field research: August 31 – September 2, 2000
Sample size: 1256
Number of sample locations: 70 in the West Bank & Gaza Strip
Margin of error: +(-) 3%
Introduction: Birzeit University – Development Studies Programme (DSP) has been following up on the latest social, economic, and political changes surrounding the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the transition toward a Palestinian State. The DSP views development and does research from a holistic point of view. DSP is responsible for the production of the Palestinian Human Development Report and other studies that feed into policy making. The researchers at DSP feel the need to develop the status of survey research and public opinion polling from a conceptual, as well as a methodological, point of view. The social, economic, and political changes accompanying such research calls for a more responsive polling. Surveys must address the new realities and needs of a young society and a potential state. Issues such as institution – building, economic and social policies, political system, democracy, and civil society gain extra importance. An analysis of the results must provide decision – makers at all levels with information that will help them in improving their abilities to serve Palestinian society. The following is a brief analysis of the survey results. The DSP is in the process of putting together a full analysis of the results. For extra copies of the poll or further information please visit our website (www.birzeit.edu/dsp).
*For inquiries or questions, please contact, Dr. Nader Said, DSP Director, or Ayman Abdelmajid, field research coordinator.

The full text of the methodology is available at DSP and will be later displayed on its web page.
Sample selection:
In this study, the selected sample is self-weighted. The probability of selecting any locality or household or individual was proportionate to population size, type of locality, gender, and age. 1256 Palestinians were interviewed in 70 localities (cities, villages, and refugee camps) in the West Bank (including Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip. A multi – stage selection process was carried our to insure representation and randomness. A Kish table was used in selecting individuals inside the households.
Field research:
A number of measures were taken to insure confidentiality and to eliminate possible fears among respondents. 70 highly trained researchers conducted the interviews. Each team was comprised of a male and a female researcher. All of the researchers went through a one-day training workshop that focused on the current survey. The questionnaire was designed after intensive consultation with experts in survey research, and after a pre-test was conducted.  
Main Results: Out of 15 governmental and non-governmental institutions listed in our survey, Palestinians said that universities were overwhelmingly the most trust-worthy.
NGOs ranked #4, immediately following the “Police”, while the PNA Ministries ranked # 10. Palestinians trusted Palestinian opposition groups and political groups the least.
42.9% said that their economic standard of living has worsened since the establishment of the PNA. In Gaza, over 50% felt that their economic conditions have worsened.
46.4% felt that they were unable to pay for their children’s education; and 44.3% felt unable to pay for proper health care services. 40% said that the level of “free expression” is similar to those in Arab countries; 26.3% said that it was worse.
70% said that the role the United Sates plays in making important decisions for Palestinians was “significant”. 63% felt that Israel played a significant role in the decision making process of the Palestinians. 42.6% felt that the role of the PNA was significant. 52.3% support the declaration of a Palestinian State on September 13, 2000. 74% assess the role that the United States has played in the negotiations thus far as “biased towards Israel.”
43% negatively view the transition of power in Syria; 46.5% view the current regime there as “undemocratic, while only 16% view it as ‘democratic”. 32.4% view the Palestinian political system as “undemocratic”; 21.7% view it as “democratic,” and 39.8% view it as ‘somewhat democratic.” 37.6% expect that a future Palestinian political system will be “similar” to those in the rest of the Arab World; 33.5% expect a “better” system, while 8.2% expect a “worse” system. 63% feel safe concerning themselves, their families, and property. The most important goal to be achieved under a Palestinian State is that of “equality before the law.” The most important attribute of a future president of Palestine is the “ability to face up to Israel.” The least important attributes were: military – security experience, history in the struggle, and belonging to an Islamic political party.
38.4% would accept a “qualified” woman as a president of a future state; 50% disagreed 44.1% said they do not support any of the existing political parties, and 38.5% would elect Yassir Arafat as a president given an election today.
* The opinions expressed in the results are those of the respondents and do not reflect the views of Birzeit University or any of its departments and employees.

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Editorial Board - CDS Birzeit, Palestine

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