In findings published on Monday, a total of 37% of voters questioned by Bir Zeit university said they would vote for Fatah, against 20% who opted for Hamas while a further 13% said they would cast their ballots for independents or smaller parties.

The remaining 30% said they were still undecided how they would vote on 25 January in what will be only the second elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The findings are roughly in line with a poll released on Sunday by the Ram Allah-based Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research which forecast that Fatah should win 50% of the vote against 32% for Hamas.

Hamas participation

Buoyed by a strong showing in recent municipal elections, Hamas has decided to field candidates on 25 January for the first time.

Israel has argued that the movement responsible for the majority of resistance attacks during the five-year uprising against the Israeli occupation should not be allowed to compete as it does not recognise Israel's right to exist.

A representative sample of 1293 people were surveyed for the poll which has a 5% margin of error.