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Obama Way Ahead Everywhere But In US

From the (yes they still exist) Reader’s Digest:

Global Poll: How the World Sees the 2008 Election

Our exclusive international poll reveals Obama-mania abroad-and the enduring allure of the American Dream.

By Carl M. Cannon

It’s a good thing for John McCain that only American citizens can vote in U.S. presidential elections. If the election were held overseas, or even in the rest of North America, the Republican nominee wouldn’t stand a chance.

This was just one of the remarkable findings in a new Reader’s Digest Global Poll in which we asked people in 17 countries, including the United States, to name the issues they care about most and tell how they feel about the United States and the presidential contenders.

“It’s Obama by a landslide—except in the country in which he’s actually running for president,” says John Fredricks, director of polling and research for Reader’s Digest. “What is most striking is the margin of his support.”

In the Netherlands, Obamamania surpasses 90 percent. In Germany, it’s at 85 percent-numbers not usually seen in political polling. Indeed, Obama plays well in every country we surveyed (see If the World Could Vote chart).

The lopsided result abroad is a measure partly of the widespread disaffection with George W. Bush. A negative consensus about the American president first gained momentum abroad with Bush’s dismissal of global warming. The disapproval rate intensified with the invasion of Iraq. As a staunch supporter of that war, McCain symbolizes the Bush status quo—and an era the world wants to leave behind.

“Obama represents something different,” says Klas Bergman, director of communications for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “He seems ready to listen rather than dictate. That he’s African American only adds to the mystique.”

Other factors are at play as well. For starters, the media elite, especially in Europe, tends to be liberal, and its news coverage of the U.S. election reflects this slant. The upshot is that the ordinary Dutchman or Englishwoman—or Indonesian, for that matter—receives a steady diet of positive Obama coverage

The poll suggests that America is still a nation that inspires—even at a time when many abroad disapprove of some of our most visible policies. To much of the world, an African American presidential candidate serves as a reminder of America’s promise and of the soaring ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, this particular African American-born in Hawaii, with a father from Kenya, raised partly in Indonesia—is truly a citizen of the world.

“This is most poignant in Africa, where people look at him and say, ‘He’s one of us,'” says Bruce Stokes, a member of the Pew Global Attitudes Project research team. “But it’s true in Asia and other places as well. There is a fascination with his lineage.”

All of which raises the question: Will Obama’s popularity in other countries persuade American voters that he’s the right choice in November? It’s an argument that Obama wants to make, albeit delicately. After his acclaimed July sojourn to the Middle East and Europe (our poll was completed before that trip), Obama told a Washington journalist that the adoring throngs who greeted him abroad “may not be decisive for the average voter right now, given our economic troubles, but it’s knowledge they can store in the back of their minds for when they go into the polling place later.” …

We presented eight issues for consideration: terrorism, the war in Iraq, the global economy, global poverty, human rights, the environment, international trade, and nuclear proliferation. Among Americans, the global economy ranks first; terrorism, second; and Iraq, third. The latter is understandable—it’s our war—yet the contrast with other nations is stark. Only Russians are more concerned than Americans with terrorism.

In seven nations, the environment comes out on top as a major concern. Global poverty, which tallied a minuscule 4 percent among Americans, is the No. 1 issue in six nations—and second in six others. While the low ranking of global poverty in America could be interpreted as indifference, another explanation is more likely: In the United States, that concern is often accompanied by a plea for more foreign aid. Most Americans believe world poverty is better addressed by a thriving global economy, which explains its position atop America’s list. On this subject, we are most like respondents in Asia: In India, Indonesia, and Taiwan, the global economy also ranks high…

Perhaps the most gratifying news here is that anti-Washington sentiment abroad doesn’t extend to all Americans. We asked participants to share their views on the U.S. government; rather than the rampant anti-Americanism we expected—especially because of the war in Iraq—the United States got a good share of support. In only half of 16 countries did “anti-American” edge out “pro-American,” and usually narrowly.

The bad news is that our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, are among those eight—as is Indonesia, the only majority Muslim country surveyed

In Mexico, the nation that already sends the most immigrants our way, one third of those polled say they’d relocate here—a number that would surely be larger if the millions who have already voted with their feet could have been polled before they made the trip. They’re here already, presumably waiting—along with the rest of the world—to see whom U.S. voters choose as their next president…

Surveys were done in June and July by Synovate, an international polling organization. In the Netherlands and Finland, local firms were retained. Questions were posed online, by telephone, and in person to 17,000 respondents. The poll’s margin of error is approximately 3 percent.

How many times must we be told this?

Perhaps the most gratifying news here is that anti-Washington sentiment abroad doesn’t extend to all Americans. We asked participants to share their views on the U.S. government; rather than the rampant anti-Americanism we expected—especially because of the war in Iraq—the United States got a good share of support.

Remember when the Reader’s Digest was a conservative publication?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 6th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “Obama Way Ahead Everywhere But In US”

  1. 1sttofight says:

    What is the point of this global poll?

  2. Anonymoose says:

    There’s also the flip side to this, that some countries may think Obama is a big joke who’ll wreck the US, and that’s why they’re in favor of him. I know that in Kenya his popularity is genuine because of his family roots, but in Europe I’d question how sincere the Chosen One’s fandom really is.

  3. A Mad Pole says:

    Anonymoose, I beg to differ. Most of EU is more or less left (especially Netherlands), they earnestly cheer and hope for their U.S. comrade to win, so they can form Cross-Atlantic comintern.

    I am sure happy that those “f&^%cks” do not get to vote in November.

  4. Exeter says:

    This study is utterly irrelevant. I give not a damn what the rest of the world thinks of us, or Bush, or Obama, or McCain. The duty of the President is to tend to OUR interests, not THEIRS. Since most of the world would rather America didn’t even exist, their endorsement of one particular candidate is a pretty good reason to vote for the other guy.

  5. OneMoreRound07 says:

    And the point of this poll is…?
    Thank God they don’t get to vote.

  6. 1sttofight says:

    You are exactly right Exeter, We have bailed out the rest of the world, spending our blood and treasure enough. Let them wither on the vine.
    But I am afraid that there will be enough voters who want to lay on their butts and let someone else do the work that our Great USA will be following the example of the roman s’

    WTF??? I have dish network and just turned to 106 to watch Gunsmoke and it went to 73, the Obama channel. What the hell is going on???

  7. 1sttofight says:


    I just got off the phone with dishnetwork. They said there was nothing going on but there may be a problem with the programing or my reciever. They are sending a new reciever(with HD) with prepaid return for the old one.
    We will wait and see how this turns out.

    Dishnetwork just called back and said I would get HD for free. something stinks .
    Sounds like someone got caught with their hand in the cooky jar.

  8. gipper says:

    “I have dish network and just turned to 106 to watch Gunsmoke and it went to 73, the Obama channel.”

    1st, the Dish Network wants Obama elected because he promised the network that he’d pursue the “unfair satellite tax”. (Just speculation, but who knows, could be true.)

  9. Curmudgeon says:

    I miss the old Reader’s Digest. I ordered a subscription a few years ago after not reading it since I was a kid, and I was grossly disappointed.
    They must not be doing too well, though. I did not renew my subscription, but they sent them to me anyway for 3 full years, all the while threatening me that my subscription was about to expire…

  10. Opinionated Jackass says:

    Why don’t these wizards of smart ever poll Americans to find out what we think of the rest of the world and then broadcast the results globally or online? Oh, right. We’re not nuanced enough.

  11. sheehanjihad says:

    Sounds like someone got caught with their hand in the cooky jar. 1st….I think everyone had better get used to the media making us watch what they deem necessary, even if they have to dedicate their entire programming to programming us. no wonder broadcast television is going digital in Feb. Cant control the airwaves if there isnt a satellite involved, now can you?

  12. Exeter says:

    OJ – good idea, and I think I’ll start now.

    Great Britain – not too much wrong with you that another Margaret Thatcher couldn’t cure.
    Ireland – quit acting like Britain’s drunk little sister. The persecution is over; grow up.
    Russia – Stalin’s dead – rejoin the human race.
    France – watch your ass.
    Germany – We’re the only reason you still exist; a little appreciation would go a long way.
    Israel – yo, buddy!
    Iraq – move your collective asses and stand up already!
    Canada – you’re just America, minus everything good.
    Mexico – Stay on your side; we don’t owe you a damn thing.
    Iran – you’re next.
    North Korea – be content that we take you seriously at all.
    China – leading the world in mass murder.

  13. Lipstick on a PIAPS says:

    I’m in agreement that the most of the World wants Obama since he would radically reduce and destroy the American Free market system and our military deterrence. That would in fact make the world’s arms manufacturers happy since there in no “Big Stick” to make anyone behave. So the Worlds’ Gang Economy would flourish with the wrong people making the money and forcing the fewer and fewer decent people to have to suck up to the Putins, Kim Jong Ill’s and Ahmaminjihad. So yes for the World’s A$$holes a Barak Victory would be an American Enemy dream come true.

  14. Jed_Black says:


    You forgot:
    Netherlands – Yay! Sex toys and crack pipes!
    Brazil – Exactly what America will be like with Bill Ayers’ boo as President. Trust me, we only need one Brazil.
    Spain – Cowards – the only nation that makes France look brave and honest.
    Kenya – All future applicants for U.S. student visa must submit to mandatory castration. We have enough of your bastards to deal with, thanks.

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