In a survey conducted last spring, a majority of Egyptian Muslims said that democracy was preferable to any other kind of government. An overwhelming majority also believes Islam's influence in politics is positive.
Confidence in Turkish institutions and leaders -- including the military, religious leaders, and the prime minster -- has declined over the last few years. And Turks continue to express largely negative views of major world powers.
While global publics largely take a positive view of the president's leadership and foreign policy, he receives his lowest marks on dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- and his ratings on this issue are especially negative in the Arab nations of the Middle East.
The president gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from the world (with the notable exception of the U.S.) for the way he has handled the world economic crisis. Obama's personal popularity remains high, as do favorable views of the U.S. In a striking difference from the Bush years, while many around the world disagree with Obama's foreign policies, the U.S. image has not been significantly dented as a result. Muslim countries, however, continue to hold a negative view of America and most also give Obama unfavorable ratings.
A survey of Muslims in eight countries and the Palestinian territories finds little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations, little support for Muslim political leaders and the widespread perception of a Sunni-Shia conflict. Most Muslims are also convinced there is a struggle between modernization and fundamentalists, and publics overwhelmingly support educating girls and boys equally.
Though U.S. image remains dismal in Turkey (the lowest rating among 25 nations surveyed) there are signs of improvement in this strategically important country. Far more Turks trust the new American president and the nation is turning less negative toward U.S. foreign policy.
As international pressure mounts on Iran to halt its nuclear program, Americans and Europeans generally express serious concerns about the potential threat from a nuclear-armed Iran. These fears are somewhat muted in Russia
A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion. A series of interactive maps show the size and distribution of the worldwide Muslim population.
About six-in-ten Americans feel it is more important to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons with military force than to avoid conflict. However, most also approve of direct negotiations and tougher economic sanctions. The efficacy of diplomacy is questioned, though.
The American public has long expressed strong support for Israel. In contrast, polls in Western Europe have frequently found more support for the Palestinians. But while they generally take different sides in the conflict, political ideology matters in both America and Europe.