About four-in-ten Americans say they support the Occupy Wall Street movement (39%), while nearly as many (35%) say they oppose the movement launched last month in New York’s financial district.
In an analysis in the New York Times, Pew Research Center president Andrew Kohut writes that the American public is beginning to take notice of the "Occupy movement." Polling this week finds a growing number of people paying attention to news about the movement.
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.
Judging the Chinese appetite for democracy is not easy, but polling suggests China may not be ripe for the kind of uprisings seen throughout the Middle East.
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.
Americans do not have a clear point of view on how the massive anti-government protests in Egypt will affect the U.S., but most give Obama good marks for his handling of the situation. Half the country has heard a lot about the events in the Middle East, while half have heard little or nothing.