Governments across Europe are required to make decisions about how best to allocate scarce health care resources. There are legitimate arguments for eliciting societal vales in relation to health care resource allocation given the roles of the general public as payers and potential patients. However, relatively little is known about the views of the general public on general principles which could guide these decisions. In this paper we present five societal viewpoints on principles for health care resources allocation and develop a new approach, Q2S, designed to investigate the extent to which these views are held across a range of European countries. An online survey was developed, based on a previously completed study Q methodology, and delivered between November 2009 and February 2010 across nine countries to 33,515 respondents. The largest proportion of our respondents (44%), were found to most associate themselves with an egalitarian perspective. Differences in views were more strongly associated with countries than with socio-demographic characteristics. These results provide information which could be useful for decision makers in understanding the pluralistic context in which they are making health care resource allocation decisions and how different groups in society may respond to such decisions.