Obama Running Away with European Vote

Barack Obama would easily win the presidency if the citizens of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom were doing the voting rather than Americans, Gallup reports.

majorities of citizens of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom say that they would like to see Democratic Sen. Barack Obama rather than Republican Sen. John McCain elected U.S. president

Unless I’ve missed something, Europeans aren’t eligible to vote in our elections.   These surveys nonetheless provide interesting insights into how different cultures view things.   Gallup’s Zsolt Nyiri, Frank Newport, and Jeffrey Jones provide this analysis:

In each of these countries, Gallup recorded in 2007 abysmally low approval of U.S. leadership — just 8% approval in Germany, 9% in France, and 20% in the United Kingdom. Much of this likely stems from opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war, but it could also result from U.S. policy on global warming or reported human rights abuses in Guantanamo Bay.

Obama’s current strength in these countries may be an outcome of the early publicity surrounding his nomination, particularly the fascinating and dramatic primary contest between Obama and the well-known Sen. Hillary Clinton. As a result, during much of the spring McCain was not the subject of nearly the international media attention that Obama was. It is possible, therefore, that McCain could gain some as the visibility of the two U.S. presidential candidates in the worldwide media becomes more equal throughout the next three months. Still, there is no question that Obama has become a “rock star” of sorts in these countries, and whether it is simple name recognition or an awareness of and agreement with his policy positions, he is clearly the favorite at this point.

Of course, Europeans almost always prefer Democrats to Republicans.  Bill Clinton was beloved in Europe even during his lowest points in American public esteem and Ronald Reagan was thought a buffoon across the pond despite his tremendous popularity at home.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Europe, Public Opinion Polls, The Presidency, US Politics, World Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    Bill Clinton … lowest points in American public esteem and Ronald Reagan … tremendous popularity

    Interesting bias. Clinton and Reagan had very similar approval ratings. Clinton left office with a 68% approval and Reagan left office with a 63% approval. Clinton’s average monthly approval rating was 55% whereas Reagans was 52%. Reagan had two periods of approval in the low 40s: during high unemployement in ’83 and during Iran Contra in ’87.

  2. yetanotherjohn says:

    Anyone know the rules on major league political trades? I’d take SarKozy, Merkel or even Brown over Obama.

  3. Triumph says:

    It is interesting that the two countries with conservative leaders have the highest support for Hussein.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Bill Clinton had the lowest approval rating of his presidency in July of 1997 at 56%. No?

  5. Michael says:

    It is interesting that the two countries with conservative leaders have the highest support for Hussein.

    They’re European conservatives, which I think makes them only slightly more liberal than Obama.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Dave: Clinton remained popular during the Lewinsky scandal but he had horrendous ratings, down to at least 37%, early in his first term.

  7. Brian J. says:

    Of course they favor Obama. He’s the one who’ll give Europeans, as well as Asians, Africans, South Americans, and scientists on Antarctica a say in our thermostat settings.

    He probably won’t listen to the Australians, though, to punish them for participating in our military ventures.

  8. graywolf says:

    Water seeks its own level.
    Anti-American socialist Europeans see kindred spirits in the anti-American socialist Democrats.

  9. blah blah blah says:

    Can anyone think of a reason why we should care about who the Europeans favor?