A recent poll of 1,200 Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza showed that if elections were held today, 49 percent of voters would vote for Hamas leader and arch-terrorist Ismail Haniyeh.

Some 42 percent of people would vote for current incumbent Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah Party, who in January will begin his 15th year of an initial four-year elected term.

The poll was conducted by prominent pollster Khalil Shikaki, and was said to have a 3 percent margin of error.

Hamas and Fatah have made several attempts at unification, which have broken down due to irreconcilable disagreements over which party should take power.

In an attempt to bring Hamas to heel in Gaza, Fatah cut salaries to Hamas-loyal government employees in the region by 30 percent, causing a financial crisis.

Hamas staged a bloody coup against Fatah, taking over Gaza in 2007, and attempted to assassinate P.A. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza in March.