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Study Shows Foreigners Favor Obama

This story was written by James Pusey, Iowa State Daily

The rest of the world is showing high interest in this years presidential election, according to a July poll, and most foreigners prefer Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

The poll was taken by the Pew Research Center as part of their Global Attitudes Project and asked residents of other countries whether they had confidence in either of the two candidates. European countries showed the highest amount of support for Obama, while Middle Eastern countries showed the least.

James McCormick, Iowa State University professor and chair of political science, teaches courses on foreign policy and has written several texts on the subject.

I think foreign countries have been very much opposed to Bush and the Bush administration foreign policy, McCormick said. Theyre interested in change.

He said Americans sometimes make the mistake of thinking other countries dont care about the U.S. elections because Americans tend to pay little attention to theirs.

Canada had an election the other day, McCormick said. Id be interested if anyone around here knew about that.

One Pew Research Center poll indicated that Japanese citizens are following the election as closely as Americans are, with 83 percent of Japanese people saying they are watching the election very closely or somewhat closely. A similar number of Americans said the same.

The leadership of the United States is crucial and will have an impact on their lives, McCormick said. Theyre going to be avid watchers of this election.

He said foreigners gravitate toward Obama because they think he will push toward multilateralism, bringing countries together to work out their issues. These countries are looking to the U.S. to provide some leadership, McCormick said, but they dont want America to assert too much authority.

I think theres quite a bit of irony in that they want the U.S. to lead, but not too strongly, McCormick said. Theres a bit of a paradox here.

International students at Iowa State said they have varying levels of interest in the election.

Yeonyoung Chu, a student in engineering specials from South Korea, said he hasnt been following the election very closely, but he is concerned about the candidates views on foreign policy.

Obama and McCain have different policies toward North Korea, so people in my country pay attention to that, Chu said.

Meng Jun, junior in civil engineering from China, said he doesnt know much about either candidate, but he knows many people in his home country are following the election.

Some really care about it, though they have no right to vote. In my country, there is no such vote for president, Jun said.