A new Palestinian opinion poll shows most respondents prefer the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to the former Hamas-led unity government.

The survey released Thursday by an independent Palestinian group, Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, asked residents in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to compare Mr. Fayyad's cabinet to that of his Hamas predecessor, Ismail Haniyeh.

Nearly half of the 1,200 respondents gave Mr. Fayyad's government better marks over the previous government, while about a quarter preferred the Haniyeh government. Twenty-three percent said there was no difference between the two.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired the Hamas-led unity cabinet in June after the Islamic militant group seized the Gaza Strip in fighting with the president's forces.

Mr. Abbas, leader of the Fatah party, appointed Mr. Fayyad to head a new Cabinet based in the West Bank.

The survey also shows 44 percent of the respondents in Gaza said their personal security has improved since the Hamas takeover, although a similar number, 45 percent said their overall situation has worsened.

Hamas has vowed to restore law and order to the chaotic territory and has banned public displays of weapons by rival groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.