Hamas's popularity among Palestinians has risen sharply since Israel's three-week offensive against the Islamist group in Gaza last month, an opinion poll released on Monday showed.It's all so confusing, isn't it? They won elections in Gaza and the West Bank and yet the seized control in Gaza. Why do that if you have won elections? And then Israel tightened its blockade. So there was already a blockade that got tightened. But it's not clear from the article if it was because of the election or the "coup".
If an election were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Mahmoud Abbas, the Western-backed Palestinian president and leader of Fatah, who advocates a peace deal with Israel.
The face-to-face poll of 1,270 people by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research was conducted on March 5-7 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as the rival factions tried to reach agreement on a unity government with Egyptian mediation.
Hamas, which Western powers shun as a terrorist organization, won a Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip the next year in a bloody coup.
Israel responded by tightening its blockade of the coastal enclave, increasing hardships for its 1.5 million residents.
March 10, 2009
More on Israel's rip-roaringly successful war on Gaza. This a Ha'aretz report on a Reuters poll: