A poll conducted by Birzeit University’s Development Studies Program last week showed that Hamas is closing in on Fateh ahead of the January 25 Legislative Council elections. The poll was conducted among 1,500 respondents.

According to the poll results, Fateh won the support of 35% of respondents while Hamas won 31%. DSP director Nader Sa’id said a poll conducted last month gave Fateh 36.7% compared to 20.6% for Hamas.
Sa’id added the complete results of the poll would be released on Saturday adding that the poll’s margin of error was three percentage points.
Meanwhile, the United States continued its rhetorical pressure on the Palestinian Authority to allow elections in the Palestinian territories go smoothly this month. Still, it did not hide clear concerns that the elections would boost the influence of Palestinian resistance groups.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday, “There should be no place in the political process for groups or individuals who refuse to renounce terror and violence", demanding that these groups recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Rice was referring to Hamas, considered a "terrorist organization" by the United States and the EU with a growing political constituency in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Nonetheless, the US did not say how it would deal with a Palestinian leadership which includes a strong Hamas presence.