"Most people round the world clearly reject the idea that Islam and the west are caught in an inevitable clash of civilisations," said Steven Kull, director of the Programme on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which was also involved in the survey of 28,000 people.
In the UK, 77% of those polled believe Islam and the west can find common ground. In Italy the figure is 78%, in France 69% but only 49% in Germany. A majority of Americans (64%) think it is possible to find common ground, though about a third (31%) believe violent conflict is inevitable.
The concept of a "clash of civilisations" originated with the Harvard thinker Samuel Huntington, who argued that conflict between cultures, especially between the west and Islam, was replacing the old cold war confrontation between east and west. Similar language is used by Osama Bin Laden and other jihadists.
The BBC survey found that 58% attributed tensions to intolerant minorities, rather than fundamental differences between cultures.