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World Opinion Poll Shows Little Support For Bush Re-Election - 2004-09-08

A new opinion poll in 35 countries indicates a majority of those polled would prefer to see Democratic challenger John Kerry elected over incumbent President George Bush.

The public opinion poll was conducted this summer in 35 countries. In 30 of them, the majority of those surveyed said they would prefer to see John Kerry win the presidential election.

President Bush was just slightly favored over Mr. Kerry in Nigeria and Kenya, but he was supported by a majority of those surveyed in the Philippines. The poll indicated a split opinion in both India and Thailand.

Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, organized the survey in cooperation with Globescan, a commercial polling company. Mr. Kull says that although John Kerry and his politics are not well-known abroad, he is still favored by a wide percentage over Mr. Bush.

"The most significant finding is that one in five, or twenty percent, support the reelection of President Bush," he noted. The survey of 34,000 people also showed that support for Mr. Kerry increased among respondents who had more education and wealth. Mr. Kull said that could indicate Mr. Kerry's popularity rises as people learn more about him.

But the poll found that dissatisfaction with American foreign policy under President Bush was even greater than support for Mr. Kerry. Large percentages of people in 30 surveyed countries said Mr. Bush's foreign policy has made them feel worse about America.

Globescan President Doug Miller said polls by the State Department and other organizations showed that such dissatisfaction was a recent development.

"The evidence suggests that this is a new phenomenon linked to the current administration foreign policy, not just background feelings," Mr. Miller added.

Even among 12 countries in the survey that are also contributing troops to the mission in Iraq, most people said their view of American foreign policy has worsened under President Bush. Only in the Philippines, where the United States supports a campaign against domestic terrorism, did a majority say their view of American foreign policy has improved.

Foreign opinion of the candidates became an issue in the presidential campaign earlier this year, when John Kerry said some foreign leaders were hoping he would defeat President Bush. A poll of Americans released Wednesday indicated that while most say they would be concerned if people around the world are feeling worse about the United States, it will have little effect on their votes in the November election.