People around the world want Obama as US president

June 14th, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 14 (IANS) People around the world, including India, have more confidence in Democrat Barack Obama than in Republican John McCain to make the right desicions on world affairs as the next US president, a new survey suggests. In India, Obama leads McCain by 33 to 28 percent, according to the survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Respondents across the world generally believe that US foreign policy may well change for the better if Obama became the next president instead of McCain.

McCain is rated lower than Obama in every country surveyed, except for the US, where his rating matches Obama’s, and Jordan and Pakistan, where few people have confidence in either candidate.

Obama’s advantage over McCain is overwhelming in West European countries surveyed. Eighty-four percent of the French say they have confidence in Obama to do the right thing regarding world affairs, compared with 33 percent who say that about McCain.

The differences in ratings for Obama and McCain are about as large in Spain and Germany, and are only somewhat narrower in Great Britain.

The survey, which covered 24,000 people in 24 countries between March 17 and April 21, found considerable interest in the US presidential campaign.

It also finds a widespread belief that US foreign policy “will change for the better” after the inauguration of a new American president.

Among the people who have been following the election, large majorities in France (68 percent), Spain (67 percent) and Germany (64 percent) say they believe that US foreign policy will improve after the election.

This sentiment is also common in the African countries included in the survey - Nigeria (67 percent), South Africa (66 percent) and Tanzania (65 percent).

Yet, this belief is far from universal. In Jordan and Egypt, most people following the election say they expect new leadership to change US foreign policy for the worse than for the better.

Two-thirds of the Japanese (67 percent) say it will not bring about much change in US foreign policy. That is the plurality opinion in Russia and Turkey as well.

The Pew survey also found encouraging signs for America’s global image for the first time this decade, apparently in anticipation of the change of guard at the White House after the November election.

Five years after the start of the war in Iraq, the image of the US abroad remains far less positive than it was before the war and at the beginning of the century.

But favourable views of the US have increased modestly since 2007 in 10 of 21 countries where comparative data are available.

As in recent years, favourable views of the US remained fairly low among the publics of a number of its traditional Western European allies. Solid majorities continue to express unfavourable opinions of the US in France, Germany and Spain.

Britain is the only country - of four Western European nations surveyed - where a majority (53 percent) expresses a positive view of the US.

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