Global approval of President Barack Obama's policies has declined significantly since he first took office, while the overall ratings of the United States are mostly positive. There has been widespread opposition to the U.S. use of drone strikes and the global public now views China as the world's economic leader.
Egyptians remain upbeat about the course of the nation and prospects for progress. Most Egyptians continue to want democracy, with two-in-three saying it is the best form of government. Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society.
Humanitarian aid to countries struck by major natural disasters -- such as the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan nearly a year ago -- has produced more favorable opinions of the U.S. among the populations of those countries. But the long term impact of such aid on public opinion has proved to have its limits.
As the State of the Union approaches, the economy continues to be the public's top priority. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority.
Early in the post-Sept. 11 era, the projection of American military strength led to pervasive fears of an unleashed, and unchecked, hyperpower. More recently, however, the global financial crisis has turned the spotlight to America’s declining economic prowess and perceptions of a great power in decline.
The U.S. image abroad is more favorable than it was in the Bush years, but it now faces a new challenge: doubts about America’s superpower status and the belief that China either will replace or already has replaced the United States as the world’s leading superpower.
Despite the struggling economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, the public has a positive view of the United States' global standing. But more think that the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world than say it stands above all other countries.
Most Pakistanis see the U.S. as an enemy, consider it a potential military threat and oppose American-led anti-terrorism efforts. A majority also describes bin Laden's death as a bad thing and many say it will have a negative impact on the already strained relations between the U.S. and their country.
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.