Obama may be having trouble in the polls lately in the US, but a new poll by the BBC released yesterday shows that he is still favoured by the rest of the world by a large margin. A poll by the BBC released yesterday surveyed 22 countries around the world and found that in each one, Barack Obama was highly favored over John McCain to become the US president. In total, 49 percent of the global respondents wanted to see Obama win, compared with 12 percent who favoured McCain. 17 of the 22 countries thought that if Obama were to be elected, relations between the US and the rest of the world would improve.
I thought the results for Europe were particularly interesting, not because Europe's preference for Obama hasn't been well-documented before, but because although Europeans seem to think Obama will usher in a closer relationship between the US and its European allies, many of them aren't particularly interested in that becoming a reality. Although the majority of respondents in the 12 European countries surveyed said they thought Obama's election would bring closer relations with the United States, a majority also said they do not want closer ties with America. This would suggest that even if a president Obama were to heal the rifts between Europe and America, so much damage has been done by the Bush administration that Europeans now view the United States as an unstable or undependable partner. The logic being, if the elected a George W. Bush once, they could easily elect one again in the future, even if the preferred candidate is elected for now. The logic here would be that the election and reelection of George W. Bush exposed a fundamental difference in values between Europe and America.
Still, 67 percent of Europeans said the European Union should deal with international threats in partnership with the United States rather than independently. While this is a healthy majority, it is significantly down from previous years, and is about 10 points lower than the 75 percent of American who agreed with that statement.