Public Narrowly Backs UN Recognition of Palestine: Global Poll



2 November 2011 – As debate continues over whether the Palestinians should ask for a UN resolution recognising Palestine as an independent state, a new global poll for 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 favour, with three undecided, in only nine countries is there an outright majority of citizens in support of recognizing Palestine as a state.
Across the countries surveyed 49 per cent back the resolution, while 21 per cent say their government should oppose it, and a large proportion (30%) either say that it depends, that their government should abstain, or that they do not know what their government should do.
Support for recognition is strongest in Egypt, where 90 per cent are in favour and only nine per cent opposed. But there is also majority support in the other three predominantly Muslim countries polled – Turkey (60% support, 19% oppose), Pakistan (52% support, 12% oppose) and Indonesia (51% support,16% oppose). Chinese people are the second most likely overall to favour their government voting for recognition of a Palestinian state, with 56 per cent in support, and just nine per cent opposed.
In terms of countries with a higher level of opposition, Americans (45% support, 36% oppose) and Indians (32% support, 25% opposed, with many undecided) are the most likely to prefer that their government vote against recognizing Palestine, along with Filipinos (56% support vs 36% oppose) and Brazilians (41% support vs 26% oppose).
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 August 29, 2011. Within-country results are considered accurate within +/- 2.1 to 3.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.
GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: “If countries’ citizens had a vote at the UN, the poll suggests that Palestine would receive official UN recognition. However, with many people undecided or opposed, domestic repercussions are unlikely if their governments choose to vote against recognition.

Detailed Findings

Public opinion in the three EU Member States included in the poll is strikingly similar on this issue: France (54% support vs 20% oppose), Germany (53% vs 28%) and the UK (53% vs 26%).
Russian public opinion is at variance with this picture, however, with over half not giving a definite answer and believing that ‘it depends’, that their country should abstain, or simply not being able to offer a view. Those favouring a ‘for’ vote outweigh their counterparts ‘against’ by a ratio of just under three to one (37% vs 13%), with the remainder undecided.
In Latin America, opinion is also equivocal, with much of the public undecided – particularly in Chile, with 52% in neither the ‘for’ nor ‘against’ camps. Nonetheless, the balance of opinion is still towards a vote for recognition rather than against. The percentage favouring a ‘for’ vote is highest in Mexico (45% vs 15%), followed by Brazil (41% vs 26%), Chile (39% vs 9%) and then Peru (38% vs 18%).
In Canada (46% vs 25%) and Australia (50% vs 17%), opinion is broadly in line with the global average.
Meanwhile, in Ghana there is a higher than average proportion advocating an ‘against’ vote (33%). This is the third-highest proportion seen in the poll after the US and the Philippines.
In total 20,466 citizens in 19 countries, were interviewed face-to-face, or by telephone between July 3, 2011 and August 29, 2011. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In six of the 19 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.1 to 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
For more details, please visit

Participating Countries

country map
For detailed results, including country-by-country data for all key questions, please see the Key Findings page below.

Media Contacts

For media interviews with the participating pollsters, please contact:

Sam Mountford, Research Director
GlobeScan Incorporated, London
+44 20 7928 5368
(Mobile: +44 7854 132625)
Oliver Martin, Director, Global Development
GlobeScan Incorporated, Toronto
+1 416 969 3073
(Mobile: +1 416 721 3544)

About GlobeScan

GlobeScan Incorporated is an international opinion research consultancy. We provide global organisations with evidence-based insight to help them set strategy and shape their communications. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for our unique expertise across reputation management, sustainability, and stakeholder relations. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is ISO 9001-2008 quality certified and a signatory to the UN Global Compact.
Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London, and San Francisco. For more information, visit:

About BBC World Service

The BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster, delivering a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 180 million globally (2010), including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. BBC World Service offers its multilingual radio content to partner FM stations around the world and has numerous partnerships supplying content to news websites, mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices as well as TV channels. For more information, visit:


In total 20,466 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between July 3, 2011 and August 29, 2011. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country.
In Brazil, China, Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey urban samples were used. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.1 to 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Country Sample Size (unweighted) Field dates Sample frame Survey methodology Type of sample
Australia 1207 August 5–7, 2011 18+ Telephone National
Brazil 806 July 26 – August 15, 2011 18–69 Telephone Urban1
Canada 1000 August 3–7, 2011 18+ Telephone National
Chile 1200 August 18–29, 2011 18+ Face-to-face National
China 1000 July 13–31, 2011 18+ Telephone Urban2
Egypt 1005 July 16–29, 2011 18+ Face-to-face Urban3
France 503 August 16–18, 2011 15+ Telephone National
Germany 1013 July 8–27 , 2011 16–70 Telephone National
Ghana 1037 July 25 – August 20, 2011 18+ Face-to-face National
India 1254 July 15–29, 2011 18+ Face-to-face National
Indonesia 1000 July 3 – August 25, 2011 18+ Face-to-face Urban4
Mexico 1000 July 23 – 28, 2011 18+ Face-to-face National
Pakistan 2400 July 18 – August 8, 2011 18+ Face-to-face National
Peru 1215 July 15–20, 2011 18–70 Face-to-face National
Philippines 800 July 23 – August 8, 2011 18+ Face-to-face Urban5
Russia 1006 July 22 – August 10, 2011 18+ Face-to-face National
Turkey 1000 July 5–18, 2011 15+ Face-to-face Urban6
United Kingdom 1000 July 6–August 23, 2011 18+ Telephone National
USA 1000 July 8 – August 18, 2011 18+ Telephone National
1 In Brazil the survey was conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Goiânia, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and São Paulo, representing 18 per cent of the national population.
2 In China the survey was conducted in Beijing, Beiliu, Chengdu, Dujiangyan, Fenyang, Fuyang, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Manzhouli, Quanzhou, Qujing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shuangcheng, Wuhan, Xi’an, Xining, and Zhengzhou, representing 45 per cent of the national adult population.
3 In Egypt the survey was conducted in Alexandria, Cairo, Giza, and Shubra El-Kheima, representing 24 per cent of the national population.
4 In Indonesia the survey was conducted in Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, and Surabaya, representing 27 per cent of the national adult population.
5 In the Philippines the survey was conducted in the National Capital Region, representing 27 per cent of the urban adult population.
6 In Turkey the survey was conducted in Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Samsun, and Zonguldak, representing 56 per cent of the national adult population.

Research Partners

Country Research Institute Location Contact
Australia GlobeScan Toronto Oliver Martin
+1 416 969 3073
Brazil Market Analysis Florianópolis Fabián Echegaray
+55 48 3364 0000
Canada GlobeScan Toronto Oliver Martin
+1 416 969 3073
Chile Mori Chile Santiago Marta Lagos
+56 2334 4544
China GlobeScan Toronto Oliver Martin
+1 416 969 3073
Egypt Attitude Market Research Cairo Mohamed Al Gendy
+202 22711262
France Efficience 3 Paris and Rheims Christian de Thieulloy
+33 1 4316 5442
Germany Ri*QUESTA GmbH Teningen Bernhard Rieder
+49 7641 93 43 36
Ghana Business Interactive Consulting Limited Accra Razaaque Animashaun
+233 302 783140 / +233 302 782892
India Team C Voter Noida Yashwant Deshmukh
+91 120 4175200 (extn. 223)
Indonesia DEKA Marketing Research Jakarta Irma Malibari
+62 21 723 6901
Mexico Parametria Mexico City Francisco Abundis
+52 55 2614 0089
Pakistan Gallup Pakistan Islamabad Ijaz Shafi Gilani
+92 51 2655630
Peru Datum Lima Urpi Torrado
+511 215 0600
Philippines M&S-Sigma Dos Philippines, Inc. Makati City Teodora Marasigan
+63 2 8172780
Russia CESSI Institute for Comparative Social Research Moscow Vladimir Andreenkov
+7 495 650 55 18
Turkey Yöntem Research Consultancy Ltd. Istanbul Bülent Gündoğmuş
+90 212 278 1219
United Kingdom Populus Data Solutions London Patrick Diamond
+44 207 553 4148
USA Populus Data Solutions London Patrick Diamond
+44 207 553 4148

Question Wording

As you may know, the Palestinian Authority is planning to request that the UN General Assembly recognize the Palestinian Territories as a state and as a member of the UN. Do you think [RESPONDENT’S COUNTRY] should vote for or against this request?

    • 01 Should vote for it
    • 02 Should vote against it
    • 03 It depends / should abstain
    • 99 DK/NA