LONDON — Voters in the United States will soon be heading to the polls to elect the country’s president, but around the world many non-U.S. citizens hold their own opinions about who should win the election. Citizens in London are keeping an eye on a vote they view as impacting their own lives.
They may not have any say in the U.S. vote -- but many Britons know their mind. Barack Obama is a firm favorite for re-election, as many people on the streets of central London said.
“I hope Obama wins. I would have thought naturally I would have been a Republican, but Mitt Romney is a frightening figure, and his running mate is even more frightening,” one man said.
“If I was American, I would vote Obama,” said a woman
Obama’s competitor, Mitt Romney, also has his fans. One woman supports his stance on abortion. “I think that the pro-lifers are really the ones I would go with,” she sa.d
Democrat Obama and Republican Romney will go head-to-head in the presidential vote on November 6. Recent polls have shown it is a close race.
But in many European countries, it is a different story. A recent poll found that in Britain, France and Germany, only one in 20 people held a positive view of Romney. In Germany, half the population said they would feel less favorably towards the United States if Romney were to win.
The poll was taken by the market research group YouGov. “Obama has consistently been seen, as most Democrats are, as more closely aligned with the politics, with the policies, the opinions, and the views of Europeans, than Romney,” said Joe Twyman, director of social and political research.
Currying favor in Europe probably does not mean much to the presidential candidates, says Twyman. But he says European leaders benefit if their citizens like the U.S. president.
“It certainly makes things easier to have constructive dialogue and make diplomatic progress when there is support for the president in that particular country. For instance, in the UK, when George W. Bush was in power, he was viewed very negatively, and so as a result, when premiers talked about relationships with America, and relations with Bush, it made things difficult for them. Whereas everyone wants to be friends with Obama,” Twyman said.
Londoners say the vote also has a direct impact on their lives. “Whoever is elected in the states has a big impact here,” a woman said.
“We do not want to interfere, but we do want to ensure that we have a person in office who is good for the rest of the world,” one woman said.
Many Europeans will be watching as Americans cast their vote next month.