The World’s First President

This Newsweek article, The World Hopes for Its First President, really steps me back from the daily ground game I read about over at fivethirtyeight.com and editorials at politico.com, to a more global, and heartening, perspective. Barack Obama seems to be the overwhelming favorite in a US election that has been more closely watched across the world than any other by far.

Obama, whose life story allows him readily to be seen as the personification of change, racks up landslide-scale support in global surveys. Recent polling by the London-based firm YouGov had Obama garnering more than 70 percent support in Nordic countries and well more than 50 percent in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They show him rising in the polls since May, ever so slightly in Germany, and by 13 points in Britain, to 62 percent in October. In France, friends-of-Obama committees have proliferated; the French Support Committee for Barack Obama sells “France for Obama” T shirts online. The Portuguese-language version of the social networking Web site Orkut, dominated by Brazilians, has 293 “communities” dedicated to Obamania, including Eu Amo Obama. In Brazil, flattery knows no bounds: at least eight candidates in recent elections simply borrowed Barack Obama’s name and put it on the ballot instead of their own.

(Emphasis on my favorite part my own)

Some more statistics illustrating his global appeal.

Obama went into Election Day with a steady lead in U.S. polls, averaging about 50 percent to 44 percent for McCain, but he was headed for a landslide around the world, topping polls in virtually every nation often by strong margins: 70 percent in Germany, 75 percent in China and so on. Somewhere along the road to the White House, Obama became the world’s candidate—a reminder that for all the talk of America’s decline, for all the visceral hatred of Bush, the rest of the world still looks upon the United States as a land of hope and opportunity.

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