It’s a good thing for Mitt Romney that the opinion of other countries isn’t a factor in deciding who will be America’s next president. Because if sentiments from abroad were considered, the Obamas would be living in the White House for another four years.
The results of the seven-country EuroTrack survey, released by international market research agency YouGov, indicates that if Europeans could vote in the upcoming U.S. election, Romney would receive no more than 10% of the vote in each of the polled nations. Individuals in Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway and the U.K. completed the survey online between Oct. 19 and Oct. 28. There was no margin of error noted on the press release but it surely wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Joe Twyman, YouGov’s director of political and social research, acknowledged in a statement that although American voters might not think much of these findings, a Romney victory could nonetheless affect foreign relations.
No doubt many Americans are not overly concerned about who Europeans think they should vote for, but on the other hand history has shown that when a president is unpopular with the people of Europe it can have a far-reaching effect on how those people view the whole United States. Obviously, both candidate’s top priority is to win over the American public, but every modern president must also show that they can be an effective operator in the international arena. That includes being seen favourably by people in other countries. While Obama’s support at home has waned, his popularity in Europe is still such that it is effectively overshadowing Romney who, even as the campaign reaches a climax, has yet to make much of an impression on Europeans.
YouGov’s research supports another recent study conducted on the international opinion of Obama. In June, the Pew Research Center discovered that 12 out of 20 surveyed countries wanted a second term for the incumbent. Countries that didn’t support a re-election for the president included Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.
Poll results from the last presidential election echo Twyman’s statement about Obama’s sustained popularity in Europe. A Gallup poll conducted between March and July of 2008 found that in all 14 European countries surveyed, a majority or plurality of respondents preferred to elect Obama over John McCain. In all senses, the President will be hoping that history repeats itself.