'Popular' Obama still perceived 'winner' globally despite close presidential race

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 22, 2012 11:00 hrs

As President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for their third presidential debate on foreign policy and polls show the Republican challenger with a real chance of winning the White House race, many people across the world do not think the same, according to an editorial in an American newspaper.

The report in the Washington Post said that from Europe to China to the Middle East, perceptions of the presidential contest have lagged behind indications that the two men are in a virtual dead heat.

Obama remains widely popular abroad, and there are signs that many leaders are unprepared for a Romney presidency. In Western Europe, few people can imagine Romney in office.

In the Middle East, political chaos has kept many activists and officials from contemplating the election much at all, the report said.

In Europe, leaders have good reason to avoid the issue: From the Scottish Highlands to the heel of Italy, it's Obama who will win chant, it added.

Three years into an economic crisis in the euro zone that has threatened to spill into the United States, many European leaders have built alliances with the Obama administration that they worry would reset to zero under Romney, analysts said.

According to the report, in Germany, the bulwark of austerity in Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel would probably prefer an Obama victory, analysts said.

"There is so much unfinished business" between the United States and the rest of the world, Stefan Kornelius, the foreign editor of the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, said.

Merkel "is afraid the Republicans would have to go through the same process of understanding the euro crisis again," Zeitung added.

According to the report, there are even leaders, and populations, who favor a Romney victory. Eastern Europe has long seen Republicans as more sympathetic to their struggles with Russia, and former Polish President Lech Walesa endorsed Romney over the summer.

In Israel, where Obama's Middle East policies have been viewed with suspicion, many people are quietly rooting for a Romney victory.

There is also a widespread, and long-standing, belief in the Middle East that regardless of who the U.S. president is, U.S. foreign policy will always be the same, the report added. (ANI)

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