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Polls Show Obama Would Cream Romney in Every Country in the World--Except Drone-Bombarded Pakistan and Israel

President Barack Obama remains well-liked around the world, and it shows in a new BBC poll of global preferences for U.S. president.
 
 
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If the presidential election were held around the world, liberal concerns about the daily polling in Ohio would vanish. President Barack Obama is very well-liked around the world, and it shows in a new BBC poll of global preferences for U.S. president.

After surveying 21, 797 people in 21 countries, BBC found that an “average of 50% favoured Mr Obama, with 9% for Mr Romney.” The country that swoons the most for Obama is France---72% of those polled in the country expressed a preference for Obama. Countries that also had large margins in favor of Obama include Spain, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and Australia. Even without huge margins, almost every country polled expressed more support for Obama.

But there was one glaring exception: Pakistan, which expressed a preference for Mitt Romney. In Pakistan, 14% of people polled said they liked Romney, with only 11% preferring Obama. The majority of Pakistanis, it seems, don’t see any president they would like.

Israel was not polled as part of the BBC effort, but polling from the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University shows that Romney is also supported by a large majority of Israelis. According to The Hill, “The Republican candidate leads Obama 57 percent to 22 percent...The gap is especially marked among self-described right-wingers — 70 percent of whom prefer Romney.”

It makes perfect sense that Pakistan would want President Obama out of office. The Obama administration has escalated its campaign of drone strikes in the country that target radical Islamists but also wreak havoc on civilian life in tribal areas. Last year, drone strikes in Pakistan are estimated to have killed between 72 and 155 civilians, according to a recently released Columbia University report.It’s worth noting, though, that a Romney presidency would give little respite to Pakistanis chafing under the constant buzzing of drones. Romney has praised the Obama administration’s drone strike campaign and has pledged to keep it up.

As for Israel, finding an explanation requires a little more digging underneath the surface. The Obama administration, contrary to the fantasies of neoconservatives and Republicans, has not “thrown Israel under the bus,” to use a favorite phrase of Mitt Romney’s. In fact, the Obama administration has boosted military aid levels to record levels and has dutifully shielded the state from criticism in international arenas. On the campaign trail and at debates, President Obama has touted his support for Israel.

So why the disdain for Obama? Part of it may be that Israelis believe Romney would be a better friend to Israel than Obama has. Romney has pledged to boost aid to Israel even more, and regularly vows that there should be no “daylight”--disagreement--between the U.S. and Israel.

Another part of it, though, is that they distrust Obama because of his skin color and Muslim middle name--though it’s tough to say whether that’s a big part or a small part. A sizable chunk of Israelis routinely express racist attitudes, particularly towards the Palestinians, and it’s easy to see how that racism could be transferred to a black president. Right-wing propaganda within Israel also plays up the “Obama threw us under the bus” meme, false as it is.

A recent poll released by the Israeli daily Haaretz reports on Israeli racism. About 75% of Israelis believe in a “separate road system” for Israelis and Palestinians, with 50% saying it’s necessary--likely a reference to separate road systems being “necessary” because of security concerns. 59% of Israelis expressed preference for “Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries,” while “42 percent don't want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don't want their children in the same class with Arab children.”

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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