The World is Watching - US Election Poll

If the world could have voted in the US elections, Obama would have won by a landslide.

*This article was published prior to the US election in 2008

Australians, along with most people in the rest of the world, say they want Barack Obama to win the US presidential election on November 4. But voters in the United States aren't as sure.

Of course, only US citizens can vote in such elections, which is a good thing for John McCain. If the election were held overseas - or even in the rest of North America outside the US - the Republican wouldn't stand a chance.

We learnt this and more in our exclusive Reader's Digest global poll, a scientific survey of some 17,000 people conducted in 17 countries on every continent, including 1000 Australians. In the poll, we asked people to give us their views on the presidential candidates, America's image in the world, and the most important issues facing the world today. We asked how they imagined the 2008 US election would shape their lives and whether, given the chance, they would move to the United States.

Amid all this data, however, the most stark result is the overwhelming support overseas for the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama.

Survey results

* In all 16 nations surveyed outside the US, where the race was within a couple of points, Obama led McCain by huge margins, ranging from an 84% margin in the Netherlands to 35% in India and Russia. In none of the 16 nations outside the US did McCain's support top 26%.

* Negative feelings towards President George W. Bush, which seem to be driving the support for Obama, don't seem to be generalised towards Americans. We asked respondents to tell us their views of the United States government. The overwhelming response was "neutral", and in just over half of the 16 countries surveyed did "anti-American" edge out "pro-American".

* The poll also demonstrates that there is no such thing as a monolithic world view. Eight issues were presented in the poll: terrorism, the war in Iraq, the global economy, global poverty, human rights, the environment, international trade and nuclear proliferation. Priorities differed dramatically from place to place.

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