If the political polls in the US are taken at face value, Barack Obama is already the President-Elect. John McCain is so far behind that some believe he is merely going through the motions. Personally, I don't set much faith in polls; and if the previous two elections are any indication, a lot of Americans vote though their guts rather than their brains.
This article, however, is not about what Americans think about their Presidential candidates; it is about what the rest of the world thinks of them. Well, it's a no-brainer for them. The slick, golden-tongued young guy vs. the white-haired, Bush-tainted, establishment oldie: no contest. Here are the statistics.
The survey by eight newspapers in Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, Great Britain and Belgium showed that people in these countries overwhelmingly preferred Obama to McCain. In Switzerland, Obama received 83 per cent of support as against only 7 per cent for John McCain. There were even a few surprises. In the third debate, McCain came across as a friend of Canada by criticizing Obama for wanting to unilaterally renegotiate NAFTA. Yet, 70 per cent of Canadians expressed a preference for Obama, with only 14 percent plugging for McCain. The Poles profess to grateful to Bush – and, by extension, McCain – for his efforts in getting Poland into NATO, but they too favored Obama by a margin of 17 per cent.
On the face of it, this overseas preference for Obama is quite puzzling. After all, what concerns most other countries about the American President is his approach towards foreign policy. By that criterion, McCain should win hands down. So why is he coming in second? My personal take is that overseas antipathy towards George Bush is so strong that McCain is suffering from guilt by association – no matter how unjustified. It's the old saw: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.