Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Rest of world prefers Obama over McCain for US president: poll

October 22, 2008 - 10:29AM

If the rest of the world could take part in the US presidential election, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama would win four times more votes than his Republican rival John McCain, a poll showed Tuesday.

In surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization in 70 countries representing nearly half the world's population, 30 percent of people said they would choose Obama as president of the United States against eight percent who said they preferred McCain.

In four close US partners in Asia -- Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea -- residents came out clearly in favor of Obama.

Two-thirds of Japanese and Australian respondents said they preferred Obama to McCain, who only scored about 15 percent in the two countries.

In Singapore and South Korea, meanwhile, the pro-Obama vote outpaced the pro-McCain vote by around two to one.

"McCain and Obama have each pledged to reinvigorate and strengthen partnerships with the four developed Asian countries and take a more active role in Asian regional organisations," Gallup wrote.

Nine out of 10 people polled in India and Pakistan and seven in 10 in Bangladesh said they had no opinion about whom they would prefer to see in the White House in Washington come next January.

Gallup said the disinterest among South Asians revealed "a great disconnect between many of the world's poorest inhabitants and the politics of the United States."

Latin Americans showed a similar disconnect, with 68 percent of those polled in central America and Mexico and 58 percent in South America voicing no opinion about the US election.

Middle Easterners in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories chose Obama over McCain by a margin of at least two to one, although three-quarters of Palestinians said they didn't think the result of the US election would change much in their country.

A majority of Europeans in 14 countries said they wanted an Obama victory, with the Dutch and Norwegians the strongest Obama supporters in Europe: nearly three-quarters in both countries said they preferred him to McCain.

In France, 64 percent chose Obama against four percent for McCain, and in Germany, where an Obama rally in Berlin gathered some 200,000 people in July, the Democratic presidential contender was supported by 62 percent of those polled compared with 10 percent for McCain.

In Africa, a median of 56 percent of poll respondents chose Obama -- meaning the percentage who chose the African American presidential contender was higher than 56 percent in half the 22 countries polled and lower than 56 percent in the other half.

A median of nine percent chose McCain, who did not beat Obama anywhere in Africa, even though the current US administration of Republican President George W. Bush has a high approval rating on the continent.

Bush in July signed legislation tripling funds to fight the killer diseases of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Africa under an initiative launched under his administration in 2003.

In Kenya, where Obama's father hailed from, the Democrat was supported by nearly nine in 10 poll respondents; McCain had the support of three percent of Kenyans.

Around 1,000 people were interviewed face-to-face earlier this year in most of the countries that took part in the surveys.

Survey sizes in Kuwait, Japan, Pakistan, Mexico and India were 484, 750, 804, 873 and 2,000 people respectively.

(The Age)

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