Despite initial hopes that the Arab Spring protests that began nearly two years ago would lead to positive changes in the region, the American public has become increasingly pessimistic about the course of politics in the affected countries.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) do not believe the changes in the Middle East will lead to lasting improvements for people living in the affected countries, up sharply from 43% in April 2011. A majority of Americans (54%) continue to say it is more important to have stable governments in the Middle East, even if there is less democracy in the region. Just 30% say democratic governments are more important, even if there is less stability. In March 2011, in the early days of the Arab Spring, 37% said democracy in the region was more important than stability.

Now, more than six-in-ten (63%) say they think the U.S. should be less involved with changes of leadership in the Middle East, compared with just 23% who say the U.S. should be more involved.

Although Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to favor greater involvement, just 34% of Republicans advocate this (compared with 20% of Democrats and 19% of independents). Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.