Is the world watching the US elections?
November 4, 2008 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Is the world watching the United States 2008 presidential elections? Who are they routing for?

I've heard that, for example, people in Kenya are paying close attention to the elections simply because of Obama's ancestral heritage, but I'm wondering if other countries are interested in the US elections for something other than curiosity, candidate heritage, or just wanting to see George W. Bush out of office.

I'd like to know of some examples of non-Americans living outside the U.S. routing for one presidential candidate over the other.

Personal stories are great, but links to articles are preferred.
posted by nikkorizz to Law & Government (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by nitsuj at 3:40 PM on November 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Also: If the World Could Vote
posted by Knappster at 3:43 PM on November 4, 2008

Really hoping for Obama.
Election is on the news everywhere
posted by domi_p at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2008

nikkorizz -- all I have are personal stories, but to corroborate your hearsay about Kenya ... I was just south of that country's border, in Tanzania about a month and a half ago, and it was common to see Obama murals painted on the sides of minibuses and lorries driving through the streets there. McCain or Sarah Palin iconography was rather absent.

When encountered an African-American fellow on our journey and he was telling us about how when he was in Kenya, everyone there was asking him about what he knew about Barack Obama and whether the guy was going to vote for him.

I think that while the 2008 has a momentous sense of Moment In History, in my experience, the world-at-large has always paid attention to your elections. My childhood in the Philippines featured discussions and arguments of Reagan v. Carter at the dinner table. When I visited England shortly after the 2000 elections, while the recounts in Florida were in full swing, we'd encounter folks who interrogated our American travelling companions with questions like "Why are old people so important in your election process?"
posted by bl1nk at 3:47 PM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: Re:

Wow. So quick. It even comes with blogs. Thanks!
posted by nikkorizz at 3:48 PM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: bl1nk, don't worry about personal stories, I just wanted to avoid a lot of mistaken interpretation that biased voters(and non-voters) may add to a story. Now that I think of it, official news sources can do the same. Feel free to share your stories.
posted by nikkorizz at 3:52 PM on November 4, 2008

1) Yes.
2) Obama.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:55 PM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: paisley henosis, what countries are routing for Obama? Do you have sources(personal or not)?
posted by nikkorizz at 3:58 PM on November 4, 2008

In Georgia and Macedonia, they love McCain.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:01 PM on November 4, 2008

Ooooooh I hate to nitpick but it's "rooting". Just FYI.
posted by RustyBrooks at 4:02 PM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: RustyBrooks, I'll remember that. :)
posted by nikkorizz at 4:13 PM on November 4, 2008

In Scotland I know quite a few people are staying up to watch, and I think most of them are probably rooting for Obama.
posted by Chairboy at 4:17 PM on November 4, 2008

I'm from Canada and I'm hoping for an Obama rout.
posted by doublesix at 4:25 PM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm in Mexico. I'd like to see Obama win.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:26 PM on November 4, 2008

In Canada, US politics get virtually more play than Canadian politics.

Even though we just had our Federal election less than a month ago, most of my friends (20-something urbanites) and coworkers (40yo - 60yo gov't employees) were better versed, and more enthusiastically opinionated, on the American Presidential race than our own election.

Support for Obama is pretty one-sided here.

Here's a short research article on how Canadians would vote, complete with data tables: Even Tories Love Obama
*note: "Tories" is slang for members of Canada's Conservative party.

Also, as far as how the rest of the world views it, this satirical map is fun.
posted by thisisnotbruce at 4:27 PM on November 4, 2008

In Brighton, UK here and I'm staying up to watch the fun despite an electrician arriving at 9.30 tomorrow morning to fit a new fuse box.

IMing with friends across the US from NY to HI. They want Obama, I want Obama.

Most people in the UK, if they express a preference, seem to want Obama because he is nothing to do with Bush who everybody has hated/taken the piss out of for the past 8 years. Obama seems like a class act.
posted by i_cola at 4:30 PM on November 4, 2008

Obama by about two to one.
posted by flabdablet at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2008

3 weeks ago in Turkey: Businessmen want McCain, everyone else in Turkey thinks Bush is an idiot and wants Obama to win.
posted by beckish at 4:36 PM on November 4, 2008

Lots of my friends in Sweden are staying awake until early morning to follow the voting. They all root for Obama. According to a poll, 71% of Swedes favor Obama, while 5% favor McCain. The rest are unsure.
posted by martinrebas at 4:43 PM on November 4, 2008

this question is a joke, right? I don't think there was a single person in any of the countries I have been to in the last two years* who didn't ask me about obama. they're over this like flies over a fruitcake.

*that would be U.S., U.K., Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, U.A.E., Singapore, Tunisia and Liechtenstein.
posted by krautland at 4:58 PM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is hearsay but, everyone that I've talked to in Lyon, France is firmly pro-Obama (and anti-Sarkozy).

I'm here teaching English to secondary school students. Before I officially started teaching I had an introduction session with each class. One person in every class asked me who I supported in the election and, when I said Obama, all of them nodded in agreement.

Also, when I was renting an apartment I sat down to have coffee with my future landlords and the first thing they asked me was, "So, McCain or Obama?" (I like to think that they agreed to rent me the apartment because I answered correctly).
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 5:20 PM on November 4, 2008

what countries are routing for Obama?

This phrasing is sort of ironic, given that this is an election question and it's ultimately about personal choice.

I'm sure that there are people across Canada who would rather see McCain win, be it because they're fundamentalists who have a contact high off of all the Palinmania, racists who think the world will be torn asunder if a half-black man becomes "leader of the free world", or tar sand workers who are concerned that Obama's environmental policy will hurt them.
posted by CKmtl at 5:29 PM on November 4, 2008

Taking into account their worldwide impact, it's no wonder that many countries are following your elections. Are we interested? You betcha!

Anyway, there have been news updates on the elections at least since the primaries began and the last week we saw a bombardment of articles. Not all of the coverage has been stellar, mind you, but it has been constant. For instance, there's been far more coverage about the battles in FLA and OH rather than the most promising combinations of IA, NM, NH, VA. Here's the latest editorial of the English version of the major conservative Greek paper. Anyone interested could also have followed the elections online from the same sources Americans did.

I've seen a few articles praising McCain's character, but these virtually stopped when he chose Palin for VP. The general sentiment is definitely pro-Obama. It will be a point of conversation together with the mid-week Champions League/UEFA soccer results. Personally, I'll miss checking the polling sites.
posted by ersatz at 5:34 PM on November 4, 2008


Obama, please......please!
posted by micklaw at 5:59 PM on November 4, 2008

1) On a dark, cold, wet Welsh hillside...
2) Routing for Praying that Obama wins!
posted by ceri richard at 6:10 PM on November 4, 2008

New Zealand - most people I know are in favour of Obama, and I've seen some polls (although none conducted with any real rigor) that indicate about 90% of New Zealanders that have an opinion on the US election are supporting Obama.
posted by narrativium at 7:45 PM on November 4, 2008

Australia. Virtually everyone I know has fingers crossed for an Obama win.

Our local paper had a two-page spread on the US election this morning and has had plenty of other coverage (and here's their online poll results: 93% Obama, although the Age is admittedly left-biased). There's been loads of coverage, more than I remember for other overseas elections; even the entertainment channels on cable have been running little snippets explaining things like the electoral college system which are different to the way we do it.
posted by andraste at 8:05 PM on November 4, 2008

I was in Germany and France for a two-week work trip and just got back 8 days ago. Every single person I spoke to in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Paris fervently hoped for an Obama win. Even this morning I got an e-mail from a woman I met in Paris who wrote, "Our fingers are crossed for you! Go Obama!"
posted by fiery.hogue at 10:53 PM on November 4, 2008

Australia. Everyone in my office today was watching the election results closely. We even turned the giant wall monitor - the one that monitors mission-critical parts of our network - to one of the news stations. When it became obvious Obama was winning, I had people Skyping me congratulations and coming up to my desk to give me high-fives. I just checked my phone and had half a dozen SMSes from Sydney friends sharing the love. It's hilarious to be congratulated for it, like I personally made the difference... but hey, given how close Indiana is this year, maybe my little absentee ballot did!

I haven't met a single person here that wanted McCain to win. Not a single one.
posted by web-goddess at 11:02 PM on November 4, 2008

In Romania, everyone I've met is pro-Obama. And happy, now that he's won.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:42 AM on November 5, 2008

As the BBC news trails promoting their election coverage says: "We can't have a vote... but we will feel the consequences."

I can't think of any other election that gets such worldwide attention.
posted by almostwitty at 5:04 AM on November 5, 2008

I worked in Kenya this past year.

Also, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, and Mauritius. (There might be one or two I'm forgetting.)

I can personally guarantee you that the vast majority of people in all of those countries are celebrating Obama's victory.

Personally I saw this election as one of voting for a candidate that was best for the country and its interests or voting for a candidate that was best for the world. Frankly I'm surprised America got over itself for 10 seconds.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:04 AM on November 5, 2008

(also, remember, you're asking this question on the internet. the "if the world could vote" website should really be more "if the world with the internet could vote." point is you're getting skewed answers.)
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:58 AM on November 5, 2008

~ paisley henosis, what countries are routing for Obama? Do you have sources(personal or not)?

Sorry about that, I completely neglected to check for follow-up in this thread. All apologies.

Within the last 6 months, I visited Dubai and India, and as far as I can remember, every single person I talked to about it was pro-Obama. The financial pages in India were pro-McCain, but that was more about him being friendly on outsourcing, and Obama wanting to bring jobs back to the States. I wasn't exactly conducting market research for the candidates, but it did come up fairly often, and I can't think of anyone ever voicing their support for McCain, though a few people did seem to think I might favor him, and politely stayed neutral on the topic.

Also, we have some fairly close family friends who are from Germany, and they tell my mom regularly about people in Germany supporting Obama, and how could anyone support McCain, and those types of things.

Plural of observation isn't data, but that is what I noticed over the past 6 months or so, first hand.

You might also find this interesting: The World Reacts to Obama's Victory.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2008

Obama is two days straight in the first page of the most popular newspapers of Greece.
posted by ersatz at 12:54 AM on November 6, 2008

my British half brother came over with his Czech wife just to witness history this past weekend. He works in a fairly conservative industry (the energy industry) and spends half his time in Moscow. His impression was that all of europe, east & west, wanted Obama to win, and he teased me for not being able to start celebrating until numbers started coming in (he arrived fri/sat & had bought the ticket in order to pop champagne. or drink obama-tinis).

Also saw leftist french philos Alain Badiou give a talk about how elections don't matter but symbolically he wanted Obama to win anyway, and this was the one thing all of france, whatever political stripe, agreed on.

By the economist's numbers, the Congo, Algeria, Iraq and Cuba lean McCain. Everyone other country (excepting a few without enough registered readers to be counted - I think they needed a minimum 10 registered voters) likes Obama.

Of course, that is slanted to those online and reading the economist. That it's a somewhat conservative magazine should make up for some of the expected bias, but the vote count for america is 20-80, nowhere near the actual vote count. But people in the US have little incentive to register to show McCain support on an online poll, whereas people in other countries may feel they have more incentive to do so... hard to know.
posted by mdn at 12:02 PM on November 6, 2008

Stephen Colbert did a bit about the world reacting to the Obama election. Link here.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:48 AM on November 7, 2008

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