As publics around the world generally remain gloomy about their economies, Turks are becoming more positive and are increasingly satisfied with their country. This bodes well for Prime Minster Erogan, who also receives good marks on foreign policy in the poll. Turks continue to favor joining the EU, but there is no consensus about whether Turkey's future lies more with Europe or the Middle East.
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.
A nationwide survey of Egypt finds Egyptians mostly satisfied with the way things are going and optimistic about the country's future. But the nation remains cautious about the prospects for political change. Also, U.S. favorability ratings remain low, and Israel fares even more poorly.
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.
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.