As debate continues over whether the Palestinians should ask for a U.N. resolution recognizing "Palestine" as an independent state, a new global poll for the BBC World Service reveals that, in all 19 countries surveyed, more citizens would prefer to see their government vote to support the resolution than vote against it – although only by a modest margin in many countries.
The poll of 20,446 citizens conducted by GlobeScan shows that, while the public is five to two in favor, with three undecided, in only nine countries is there an outright majority of citizens in support of recognizing Palestine as a state.
Across the 19 countries surveyed, 49% supported the proposal while 21% said their government should oppose it.
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The Palestinians say they will ask for full membership at the U.N. this week but the U.S. says it will veto the move.
The poll, jointly conducted by the BBC World Service and GlobeScan, saw majority support in four predominantly Muslim countries, with Chinese people also strongly endorsing the proposal.
Even in countries where opposition was strongest, more of the people polled supported the resolution than were against it.
The United States and the Philippines both polled 36% against the resolution. But 45% of Americans and 56% of Filipinos backed recognition.
The lowest level of support was in India, with 32% in favor and 25% opposed, with many undecided.
Support was strongest in Egypt, where 90% were in favour and only 9% opposed.
In other Muslim countries, Turkey recorded 60% support, 19% opposition; Pakistan 52% for, 12 against; and Indonesia 51% for, 16% against.
Chinese were among the most enthusiastic supporters, with 56% in favour and just 9% opposed.
Public opinion in the three large European Union member states included in the poll was strikingly similar on the issue: France (54% support, 20% opposition), Germany (53% v 28%) and the UK (53% v 26%).
Overall, 30% opted for not giving a definite answer as they thought their country should abstain, or "it depends", or they did not offer a view.
But more than half of Russians and Chileans did not offer a definite opinion, the BBC reported.
The results are drawn from a survey of 20,466 adult citizens across 19 countries. It was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between July 3, 2011 and Aug. 29, 2011. Within-country results are considered accurate within +/- 2.1 to 3.5 percent 19 times out of 20.
GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller said, “If countries' citizens had a vote at the U.N., the poll suggests that Palestine would receive official U.N. recognition. However, with many people undecided or opposed, domestic repercussions are unlikely if their governments choose to vote against recognition.”
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