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Obama still a winner in Europe, poll shows

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LONDON -- The U.S. presidential election remains too close to call, but there’s one place where the polls show President Obama blowing Mitt Romney out of the water: Europe.

A survey of seven European nations, including longtime U.S. allies Britain and France, has found that Obama would win more than 90% of the vote if the respondents could cast ballots in Tuesday’s race. The survey was conducted by YouGov, a respected British-based polling organization that has also tracked Obama’s and Romney’s numbers within the U.S.

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“No doubt many Americans are not overly concerned about who Europeans think they should vote for,” said Joe Twyman, YouGov’s director of political and social research. “On the other hand, history has shown that when a president is unpopular with the people of Europe, it can have a far-reaching
effect on how those people view the whole United States.”

The poll, which covered Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, found that Romney failed to garner more than 10% support in any of those countries. In Sweden and Denmark, the former Massachusetts governor fared even worse: Only 1 in 20 people named him as their choice.

The results attest to Obama’s enduring popularity on this side of the Atlantic even as he has struggled to maintain support at home.

While many Europeans profess disappointment with aspects of his presidency, such as his failure to shutter the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay as promised, and though his visits no longer draw the rock-concert-size crowds they once did, Obama is still seen as an inspirational figure. The clear preference for him also seems unaffected by his administration’s widely publicized ‘pivot’ to Asia and away from Europe in terms of its foreign-policy focus.

In fact, many in Europe are often puzzled as to why the race between Obama and Romney is so tight.

Romney “has yet to make much of an impression on Europeans,” Twyman said.

The poll results are probably cold comfort to the Obama camp, since Europeans can’t vote Tuesday. And Romney supporters will no doubt shrug as well, thinking “it figures” that the residents of big-government, high-tax, socialist countries like France and Sweden fawn over Obama.

‘Obviously, both candidates’ top priority is to win over the American public, but every modern president must also show that they can be an effective operator in the international arena,’ Twyman said. ‘That includes being seen favorably by people in other countries.’

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-- Henry Chu


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