New polling finds public favors setting limits on carbon emissions, allowing gays to serve openly in the military and re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.
As economically developing countries grow prosperous, their middle classes understandably become more satisfied with their lives and their values become more like those of the publics of advanced nations.
Just as concern about energy dependence has become widespread, so too have unfavorable views of Russia and its Prime Minister Putin.
The public's top long-term foreign policy goals are decidedly America-centric. Defending the country against terrorism, protecting U.S. jobs, and weaning the country from imported energy all draw extensive bipartisan support.
Americans are giving higher priority to more energy exploration, rather than more conservation; concern about the environment fades as support for ANWR drilling rises.
Although views of the U.S. remain negative, and many now worry about the US economy's impact on their nations, the U.S.'s favorable ratings have increased modestly since 2007 in 10 of 21 countries with comparative data. People around the world are following the U.S. election closely - and in most places surveyed, express greater confidence in Obama than in McCain.
The proportion of Americans who say that the earth is getting warmer has decreased modestly since January 2007, mostly because of a decline among Republicans.
Close to 200,000 poor families in 15 cold-weather states can thank Venezuela's controversial president for helping them heat their homes this winter.
The public remains conflicted in its approach toward energy and the environment, but 55% favor more conservation and regulation compared with 35% who support expanded exploration. Fully 90% favor tighter auto fuel standards.
Governors have few doubts that global warming is a looming threat, but have some major differences about how to address the problem.