World poll: Obama more likely to 'do the right thing'
USA Today
By Susan Page, USA TODAY
June 12, 2008

WASHINGTON — The matchup between John McCain and Barack Obama is close in nationwide surveys in the USA, but around the world it's no contest: Obama prevails.

A survey of 24 nations taken by the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds high levels of interest in the U.S. presidential election and broad optimism that American foreign policy "will change for the better" after the inauguration of a new president next year.

In all but three nations, those polled express more faith in Obama than in McCain to "do the right thing regarding world affairs." They were essentially tied in the USA. In Pakistan and Jordan, neither inspires much confidence.

"Obama obviously has an appeal that has crossed the waters," says Andrew Kohut, who directs the Pew project. "Some of it may have to do with his being associated with opposition to the war in Iraq, which is consistent with views of people around the world. Some of it may have to do with his charismatic qualities and the fact that he's different than the typical American presidential candidate."

Among the findings:

•Interest is high. Japanese are even more likely than Americans to say they are following the election closely. At least of half of those surveyed in Germany, Australia, Jordan and Britain say they are paying attention. In most of the nations surveyed, a third or more are tuning in.

However, the countries where people are paying the least attention include Indonesia, where Obama spent four years as a child. Just 15% of Indonesians say they're following the election closely.

•Optimism about a new president is broad. About two-thirds of those surveyed in France, Spain, Germany, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania predict U.S. foreign policy will improve after the inauguration. In 20 nations, more say U.S. foreign policy will change for the better than for the worse.

Only in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt and Lebanon were people inclined to predict a turn for the worse.

In most countries, Obama is also more trusted than President Bush. The contrast was particularly sharp in Europe, where Bush has been making a farewell tour this week. In France, where he visits today, 13% say they have "a lot" or some confidence in Bush to do the right thing. Six times as many, 84%, say that of Obama.

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