Results from a poll of 19 countries suggest more people would be in favour of their country recognizing an independent Palestinian state than would oppose such a move.
The survey of 20,446 people, conducted by GlobeScan for BBC World Service, found that across the countries surveyed, 49 per cent of respondents supported recognition of a Palestinian state, while 21 per cent said their government should oppose it.
Nineteen per cent said they don't know and 11 per cent answered "depends" or that their government should abstain from giving an opinion.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday he would ask the UN Security Council in the coming week to endorse his statehood bid, a step that would risk a threatened U.S. veto in the council.
Among American respondents to the survey, 45 per cent backed recognition while 36 per cent were opposed.
In Canada, the numbers were 46 per cent in favour, 25 per cent opposed.
Support for recognition was strongest in Egypt, where 90 per cent said they were in favour and nine per cent opposed. There was also majority support in the other three predominantly Muslim countries where citizens were surveyed: Turkey (60 per cent support/19 per cent oppose), Pakistan (52 per cent support/12 oppose) and Indonesia (51 per cent support/16 per cent oppose).
Public opinion in the three European Union members states included in the poll is similar: France (54 per cent support/20 per cent oppose), Germany (53 per cent/28 per cent) and the U.K. (53 per cent/ 26 per cent). Russia had the highest number of respondents who answered with "depends," "abstain" or said they had no view on the matter.
In Latin America the views were much more ambivalent, with a large response — especially in Chile —of 52 per cent who are neither "for" nor "against." However, the balance are mostly in favour of recognition. Votes for are highest in Mexico at 54 per cent followed by Brazil with 41 per cent.
However, in Ghana more are advocating for an "against" vote — 33 per cent. The third highest following the United States and the Philippines.
Participants were interviewed in person or by telephone between July 3 and Aug. 29, 2011. The results are considered accurate within 2.1 to 3.5 percentage points,19 times out of 20.