Europe still favours Obama over Romney

2012-10-31 14:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Brussels - US President Barack Obama no longer inspires the enthusiasm he once did but Europe still favours him, doubtful of Republican challenger Mitt Romney even if his election would spell no fundamental change in ties with Washington.

With the race for the White House neck-and-neck, polls in Europe give Obama a massive lead – 75% to just 8% for Romney according to the latest survey by the German Marshall Fund.

The president's personal approval rating in Europe stands at 71%, down 12 percentage points but still remarkable after four years marked by the worst economic downturn since the 'Great Depression' of the 1930s.

Barring a major international crisis, US elections turn on the economy.

But in Europe, Obama is credited with the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and the reform of healthcare, though the stalemate in the Israel-Palestine conflict and failure to close the Guantanamo detention centre are negatives.

Some other successes he can claim, such as the tracking down and killing of Osama bin Laden, also play better to US audiences than in Europe.

Safe hands

Failings aside, it remains a fact that Obama "is the closest thing [in the United States] to a Social-Democrat", as known in Europe, said Jan Techau, head of the Carnegie Europe think-tank.

In contrast, Romney is largely an unknown quantity and what Europeans saw of him during a tour in July failed to reassure that he would be a 'safe pair of hands'.

His background in business as a financial wheeler dealer and his espousal of ultra-liberal economic policies would make him an uneasy bedfellow for many Europeans who blame the bankers and financiers for the 2008-09 global crash.

Additionally, he shares too much common ground with the far-right conservatives of George W Bush's presidency, indelibly linked to the Iraq war and a blunt assertion of US power which rattled the allies.

Ironically, for all the discussion and attention paid to the US election in Europe, there seems much less interest the other way, with foreign policy a very secondary issue in the 6 November vote.

Europe, when taken up, is done so more to score political points - Romney dubbing Obama as the man to lead the United States down the same path as twice bailed-out Greece.

US turning its back on Europe

For some, this low profile is welcome, keeping Europe out of the firing line despite the problems caused by the sovereign debt crisis.

The downside is that Washington has made clear that in reordering its priorities to 'pivot' to the Asia-Pacific region, it "turns its back to Europe", said Steven Blockmans, of the Centre for European Policy Studies.

"The two sides of the Atlantic are losing strategic interest in each other and also increasingly the capacity to deal with each other, to care together for the same things," said Ulrike Guerot of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Other analysts suggested that the United States cannot simply disregard events in Europe, if only for economic reasons - the debt crisis has hit the US economy and fixing the problem has to be one of its major concerns.

"Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, the eurozone crisis will be a source of major US concern," Clara Marina O'Donnell of the Centre for European Reform at the Brookings Institution said in a recent article.

Obama and his officials have identified the debt crisis as "their biggest frustration with Europe. For them, EU institutions have shown themselves incapable of addressing the crisis", O'Donnell wrote.

For the president, austerity policies are not enough and Europe has to find growth somewhere by helping struggling states. But Romney takes a harder line, arguing that governments should simply get out of the way.

On that basis, a Romney victory could indeed "lead to a shift in US foreign policy ... although America's views on the eurozone are not the principal driver of EU policy, such a shift could have an impact on internal EU negotiations", O' Donnell added.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may feel like you are treading water and going nowhere fast. You may want to get off the merry go round. By pushing yourself...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.