As leaders convene in Copenhagen to discuss climate change, they will address a concern shared around the globe. Publics are willing to sacrifice economic growth for the environment, but nations are split on which country should lead on global warming.
In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well. Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries.
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.
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.