Two years after the start of huge protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, doubts have spread about the political direction of countries swept up in the Arab Spring.

In an October poll, nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) said they do not believe the changes in political leadership in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Libya will lead to lasting improvements for people living in those countries. That was up sharply from 43% in April 2011.

While there was no public consensus on how changes in the Middle East are likely to affect the United States, few said they think the effects will be positive. Just 14% said they believe the leadership transitions in the region will be good for the United States, down from 24% in April 2011. More than twice as many (36%) said these changes will be bad for the United States, while 38% said they will have little effect.

Nearly half (49%) of Republicans said changes in the Middle East will end up being bad for the United States, while the plurality view among Democrats (48%) was that the effect for the U.S. will be minimal. Read more