The BBC World Service commissioned GlobeScan, the research firm, to survey 25,438 people in 25 countries.
A 32% share of contributors agreed the economic climate would be "good" or "mostly good" rising from 27% last year.
Elsewhere, the number of participants anticipating either "bad" or "mostly bad" financial conditions had dropped from 30% to 27% in the same period. The remainder expected the situation to be unchanged.
At the national level, 72% of respondents in Nigeria were in upbeat mood, standing at 57% in Egypt, 55% in Kenya, 53% in Ghana and 51% in both China and India.
Totals slid to 5% in Japan, 8% for the UK and 9% for France, growing slightly to 16% in the US, 28% in Canada and 36% in Germany, showing even among advanced markets opinions are mixed.
Looking five years into the future, 37% of adults argued the fiscal environment would primarily be favourable, an expansion of six percentage points on an annual basis.
Similarly, the proportion of consumers adopting a more negative outlook stood at 20%, down on the score of 26% recorded in 2010.
Over 70% of panellists in Egypt and Nigeria took an optimistic view, a figure reaching around 60% in Brazil, Ghana and China.
"The poll suggests citizens in many industrialised economies - most notably the UK and US - see their immediate and longer-term economic prospects as bleak, and the continuing Eurozone crisis will only be making matters worse," Doug Miller, GlobeScan's chairman, said.
"It also reveals continuing strong consumer confidence in emerging giants such as Brazil, India, and China."
Data sourced from GlobeScan; additional content by Warc staff