Slideshow: World Trends in 2012
The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project conducted public opinion surveys in 21 countries in over 30 languages in 2012. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life also conducted major studies on public opinion, demography and restrictions on religion around the world. Here are our top findings from 2012.
Most Muslims Want Democracy, Personal Freedoms and Islam in Political Life
More than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations. A substantial number in key Muslim countries also want a large role for Islam in political life. Meanwhile, few think the U.S. favors democracy in the Middle East.
Russians Support Protests, Political Freedoms, and Putin, Too
A Pew Global attitudes report finds a majority of Russians support political freedoms and public protests that followed a December 2011 parliamentary vote. But a majority also hold a high opinion of Vladimir Putin.
Egypt on the Eve of Elections: Economy, Democracy Are Priorities
On the eve of the first presidential election of the post-Mubarak era, Egyptians remain hopeful about the future of their country, and they strongly desire both an improved economy and democratic freedoms .
One Year Later, Egyptians Embrace Democracy, Islam in Political Life
Egyptians remain upbeat about the course of the nation and prospects for progress. Most Egyptians continue to want democracy, with two-in-three saying it is the best form of government. Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society.
An ‘Iron Hand’ Is No Substitute For Democracy
The experience of the former Soviet Union’s struggles to make the transition to a more open society holds an important lesson for the Middle East, a region in which the democratic tide still swells despite panicked opposition from some and the efforts of others to regulate its tempo.
Confidence in Democracy and Capitalism Wanes in Former Soviet Union
Two decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russians, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians are unhappy with the direction of their countries and disillusioned with the state of their politics. Enthusiasm for democracy and capitalism has waned considerably and most believe the changes that have taken place have had a negative impact on many aspects of public life.
Arab Spring Fails to Improve U.S. Image
The rise of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East has not led to an improvement in America’s image in the region. Instead, in key Arab nations and in other predominantly Muslim countries, views of the U.S. remain negative, as they have been for nearly a decade. And, with the exception of Indonesia, Obama remains unpopular in the Muslim nations polled.
Will Enthusiasm for Democracy Endure in Egypt and Elsewhere?
While the parallels between former Soviet bloc countries and Middle Eastern nations should not be overdrawn, the experience of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet empire is a useful reminder that public enthusiasm for democracy is not guaranteed as political change extends over years and decades.
Historically, Public Has Given Low Priority to Promoting Democracy Overseas
Americans like the idea of their government promoting democracy in other nations. But democracy promotion has historically lagged far behind other objectives among the public’s long-term foreign policy goals.