Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama, McCain international fans similar to domestic supporters

In June, Pew released a report containing survey data on opinions of the two US Presidential contenders in 22 countries from all six populated continents. Not surprisingly, Obama is more popular than McCain is. A greater number of respondents in every country except one* have confidence in Obama than do in McCain. However, their respective popularities don't trend reliably in the same direction with the only difference being the magnitude of that support.

The report also polls sentiments on US economic influence. It is in places where the view of US economic influence is most negative that Obama is most popular. The percentage of a nation's population that is confident in Obama and the percentage of its population that believes the US' economic influence in the world is negative correlates at a statistically significant .48 (p=.02).

Tanzania, bordering the homeland of Barack's father, is a major outlier, ebullient about Obama but also a big fan of the American economic machine. If it is removed from the analysis, the correlation jumps to .56 (p=.01). For every 1 point increase in support for Obama, negative feelings for US economic influence increase by .65 points.

No such relationship exists between McCain's levels of support and the desire for US economic influence to wane (the p-value is .72!).

Pew released another report last year gauging, among other things, foreign opinions of the US entertainment industry (specifically movies, music, and TV). Using the 21 countries included in both reports suggests that Obama fans are moderately more degenerate (heh) than McCain's are, at least internationally. Obama's support and positive views of US entertainment correlate at .56 (p=.01). For McCain, the relationship is .45 (p=.04).

But when it comes to buying into US "ideas and customs" as opposed to Hollywood fare, McCain is the one to look to. The percentage of those in a country expressing confidence in him and the percentage of those who have a positive view of spreading US ideas correlate at .42 (p=.06). There is no relationship between Obama's level of support and the support of US ideas (p=.61).

The take-home message is that those who'd likely vote for Obama if they were stateside are also relatively more likely to be in tune with the political and cultural messages coming from the entertainment industry and more likely to feel the US is a negative influence in the world. Those who'd back McCain are more inclined towards US global influence and like what we've done with it. That's commonsensical I suppose, but the vigor of the relationships might be surprising.

* Stultifyingly, the exception is Jordan (by one point, indicating a statistical tie with a standard margin of error). Given Obama's associations with Palestinian 'sympathizers' and the reluctance of Jews in the US to get behind him like they've gotten behind Democratic Presidential candidates in the past coupled with McCain's support for the neoconservative remaking of the Middle East, I'd have thought Obama would be more popular than McCain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think just about everyone who has come into contact with the PLO and Palestinians hates them like poison, maybe especially the Jordanians. The PLO tried to overthrow the monarchy back in 1970, the whole Black September thing.