Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Obama the favourite by far in Europe


It won’t make the slightest difference to the outcome of the US presidential election, but it is interesting to note that the overwhelming majority of people in Portugal seem to favour Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.
A straw poll conducted by United Press International found that 97% of Portuguese would like to see Obama voted back to the White House. Similar percentages were recorded in the Netherlands and Germany, and only slightly less in several other EU countries.
The poll, which surveyed 26,000 people in 30 countries outside the US, showed Israel as the only country where more than half the population would support Romney. The poll was conducted several weeks ago. The TV presidential debates don’t seem to have substantially changed opinions.
A BBC World Service opinion poll this week surveyed 21,797 people in 21 countries, but Portugal was not one of them. All four European countries included – France, the UK, Germany and Spain – showed Obama’s popularity far ahead of Romney’s.   
“Obama remains widely popular abroad, and there are signs that many leaders are unprepared for a Romney presidency,” said the Washington Post this week. “From the Scottish Highlands to the heel of Italy, it’s Obama country all the way.”
Romney’s great-great grandparents came from England and his father-in-law was Welsh. He spent two years in France as a Mormon missionary. But none of this endears Europeans to him - or him to Europe. He sees Europe as dysfunctional.
Conservative leaders in Europe seem to prefer the Democrat rather than the Republican candidate. Angela Merkel is thought to be pro-Obama even though her centre-right Christian Democratic Party traditionally supports the Republicans. While Obama has been supportive of bailouts, Romney has been harshly critical of the handling of the euro crisis and may try to reign in America’s contributions to the International Monetary Fund.
The third and last presidential debate focused on foreign policy, but Europe got only the briefest of mentions in passing. Obama said “Our alliances have never been stronger: in Asia, in Europe, in Africa, with Israel." That was it. Romney did not utter the word Europe at all. “Point taken: foreign politics plays no role in the American election,” said Le Monde.
The Guardian said: “Failure to mention Europe may be just the way the Europeans want it. After talking to French and European diplomats, Libération's Washington blog sensed they were OK with the fact that Europe had ‘disappeared from America's radar’, happy that Obama was not blaming the eurozone crisis as a source of US economic woe, and that Romney had stopped riffing on the dangers of ‘European socialism’.”
“Under a headline, “Debate reveals outdated US foreign policy,” an article in Der Spiegel  said “the two candidates appear stuck in the Bush worldview, and reveal a global power on the decline.”
Portugal’s Diário de Noticias today found something more interesting to report on than the presidential debate. It gave front-page prominence to a revelation from President Obama’s wife, Michelle, about her husband’s underwear – or lack of.  Asked on American television  if the president preferred boxers or briefs, Mrs Obama said: “none of the above.” 

1 comment:

  1. Imagine! The President of the United States wears a thong! But seriously for a moment, Europe may favour Obama over Romney, but should either of them really be in the White House?

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