Saturday 29 November 2014

80pc of Europe would say oui to Obama

Gregory Katz London

Published 08/11/2012 | 05:00

The list of countries with a strong Obama preference in the BBC survey were as diverse as Nigeria, Panama, South Korea, Germany and Brazil.

HE won, and the word "phew" trended worldwide. There was never any contest overseas.

Gone are the days when President Barack Obama was seen as a youthful, messianic figure capable of magically curing the world's woes. But he remains widely popular. Even Tom McGrath, president of Republicans Abroad France, conceded: "It's clear that if they could vote, Europe would vote 80pc for Obama."

Challenger Mitt Romney is a little-known figure internationally with scant foreign policy experience, while Mr Obama was seen -- even by most critics -- as a steady hand following a predictable course.

If he hasn't brought peace to the world's fire zones, or done much to slow climate change, or sparked global economic growth, he is credited at least with having started no new wars, and having tried to heal relations with the Muslim world even while aggressively pursuing al-Qaida and its affiliates.

A BBC survey during the run-up to the election found remarkable support for an Obama second term. More than 21,000 people in 21 countries were questioned, with residents in all but one country backing Mr Obama. Only Pakistan, where Mr Obama's heavy reliance on drone strikes has been unpopular, preferred Mr Romney.

Venezuela's state-run News Agency said Mr Obama returns to power "with various promises unfulfilled", including what it described as his failures to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to set up a system to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

But the list of countries with a strong Obama preference in the BBC survey were as diverse as Nigeria, Panama, South Korea, Germany and Brazil.

A separate French poll showed broad support for Mr Obama -- even from those who identified themselves as supporters of the French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Jocelyne de Letrain (60) was among Parisians who cheered Mr Obama's win. "I don't think that Europe would have had a good relationship with Mitt Romney," she said. "It would have been two different points of view, two different planets."

Irish Independent

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