MSN Netherlands asked Dutch Internet uses who they would vote for if they were eligable to vote in the American elections. The answer will not surprise anyone, but the exact numbers may: 90% of those who answered said they would vote for Barack Obama, and Democrats in general. Only 10% said they would vote for McCain and other Republicans.
This is, of course, due to the fact that European countries are, mostly, more progressive than the United States. But it is also due to the bias in European media; McCain has not been fairly depicted fairly by most outlets on the Old Continent; he is ridiculed, and made out as an extremist, while Obama is depicted as every European’s dream: a reasonable, moderate, compassionate, effective and pragmatic politician. Additionally, it has to be said, many European Internet users are reasonably young; polls conducted by major newspapers also show Obama winning, but by a lesser, yet still significant, gap.
The above is, as I see it, one of Obama’s major strenghts – not just the bias in the media, but how Europeans think about him and Democrats in general. The relationship between Europe and the U.S. has deteriorated tremendously since George W. Bush took office in January 2001. He and his team insulted European countries on a variety of occasions, which make matters worse. Additionally, many Europeans criticize the way the U.S. has treated its terrorism suspects.
Electing Obama would almost instantly result in more respect for and appreciation of the U.S. here in Europe. It would do a tremendous lot to destroy the notion that all Americans are, deep down, little George W. Bushes (who has been turned into a caricature of course). Whether American voters like it or not – and especially conservatives – Europe is a valuable ally for their country. If the relationship between the two continues to deteriorate, or even if it does not improve significantly, both sides will have trouble passing resolutions at the UN in the coming years and, generally, getting other countries to agree to a certain policy.
Europe needs the U.S. and the U.S. needs Europe. The two need to work together, to protect their own interests, and the interests they share. Although some conservative Americans believe America should and could go it alone, the reality of the matter is that this is not possible. Electing Obama, therefore, would help the U.S. coordinate its efforts to protect its, and the West’s in general, interests. It would improve America’s image and would, therefore, make it considerably easier for European politicians to support the U.S. and to go along with its plans.