Election 2012: The world loves President Obama - why?

Election 2012: The world loves President Obama - why?

Edmonton : Canada | Nov 01, 2012 at 5:17 AM PDT
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United States President Barack Obama is greeted by Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Recent polls have indicated that if the world were able to vote for the next president of the United States, President Obama would win hands down. These polls indicated that support for Obama is especially high in Europe, with 72 percent of the French population supporting the president.

Particularly in France there is a slobbering love affair with the president by ordinary citizens, the media and the prime minister of France, who recently endorsed the president.

"If I were an American citizen, I wouldn't hesitate to vote for Obama," Jean-Marc Ayrault said during a local media interview.

In Canada approximately two thirds of Canadians support the American president. This is hardly a surprise. The division is comparable to those that support Canada's conservative government and those that support the other left of centre opposition parties. Add to that the reports of the left-leaning media, with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the lead, which trumps the horn constantly for the president.

US-based reporters like Neil MacDonald and Susan Bonnar seem to get the same messages from the White House and Media Matters, and their reports resemble those of the US media outlets. Huffington Post Canada ads to the chorus. The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail lean to the left. The voice in the dark, echoing an opposing view, is Sun TV and the Sun newspaper chain. CTV and Global TV primarily show feeds from US networks when it comes to the election coverage.

Taking a look at the polls, Pakistan, Israel and Poland appear to be the only voices against an Obama re-election. This is probably a reflection on the constant incursions of drones into Pakistan and the cancelation of the missile defense program in Poland.

While Europe wallows in its debt crisis, which puts the global economy at risk, it is hardly surprising that they lean towards President Obama, since his values and policies closer align with those of Europeans. There is also a case to be made that message matters.

Obama was criticized for being arrogant when he appeared near the Brandenburg Gate in Germany for a speech to Europeans, but that message resonated and is apparenlty still in the mind of Europeans today. The 2008 campaign was full of hope and change and images.

Then presidential candidate Obama appeared in an Irish pub, chucking back an ale with locals, touting his Irish ancestry on his mother's side. There was, as already stated, the speech at the Brandenburg Gate, and shortly after taking office, the president made his famous Cairo speech.

Romney is hardly known in Europe, which is no surprise, since most Americans did not get to know the real Romney until the first presidential debate. Up to that point he had been defined as someone to run away from by the Obama campaign. Since then the tide for Romney has turned, at least in America.

The first debate was a turning point in the campaign, but not a complete knock-out punch. Since then there has been the turmoil in Benghazi, an attack on the US consulate, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four others. The full details are still not known for this attack, but it is clear that the administration has not been transparent. This issue will not be resolved until after the election, regadless of who wins.

The October Surprise has been Hurricane Sandy. For several days the president has had the opportunity to look presidential, while Romney had to watch his Ps and Qs and at least appear on the radar. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie praised the president for his engagement and cooperation on two occasions and stated that he and the president had spoken at least six times. This can only help Obama's image.

It is obvious that the world image of Obama is elevated, and even 42 percent of those polled said that they should be permitted to vote in the US election.

According to France political commentators Anne-Elisabeth Moulet, it would appear that Europeans have bought into the Democrats' portrayal of the Republican Romney in this election. She said that the French think he is fanatic, with a little Mormon added. This seems like a strange comment from a population that considers itself tolerant. Go figure. Source: CBC

Browsing through German newspapers on line, it becomes obvious that there are very few conservative voices in Germany. Despite the fact that the Angela Merkel government is fiscally conservative, it is progressive in its social views. France's government is moving further, if not completely, in the direction of Obama's policies.

Europe has its own debt problems as the crisis in Greece and the extraordinary measures by David Cameron's government in the UK would indicate. Add to that Romney's relative obscurity, and obviously the Democrat's message survives.

The bottom line is that image and message are everything, and Europeans love what they have been presented. Americans face the reality of two choices on Nov. 6 and Europeans will have to wait their turn. In the end, they will have to work with the man who takes the presidential oath on Jan. 20.

If you like writing about US politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.

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Obama speaks in Berlin
Candidate Obama spoke at the Brandenburg gate during campaign 2008
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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