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US POLITICS

One in twenty Europeans has positive view of Mitt Romney, poll shows

Only one in 20 Europeans has a positive view of Republican, poll shows

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 September, 2012, 4:11am

The reputation of the US in Europe risks sinking back to where it was under George W. Bush if Mitt Romney becomes president, according to an international poll.

Only about one in 20 of those surveyed in Britain, France and Germany by YouGov held a positive view of the Republican presidential nominee.

The poll of more than 12,000 people across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and China was prepared for the YouGov-Cambridge forum on Tuesday.

The results are a sign that support for US President Barack Obama has diminished little since his 2008 speech in Berlin, in which he promised to restore America's reputation on the world stage, even though, four years on, Guantanamo Bay remains open and the US is still fighting in Afghanistan.

But while Europeans had a strongly negative reaction to Romney, the prospect of him as US president was greeted with less dismay in Pakistan, where about 13 per cent of respondents said it would make them more favourable to the US, compared to 9 per cent who said it would make them less favourable.

This is possibly a reflection of the anger towards the Obama administration over drone attacks, which have killed civilians and are viewed as an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.

There was less antipathy, too, in the Middle East and North Africa, where only 8 per cent said they felt a Romney presidency would make them feel less favourable towards the US.

Again, the reason for this may be more to do with negative feelings about the current administration, in particular its failure to mount a serious attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, than warmth for Romney.

But the most striking finding was the level of antipathy towards the Republican in Europe. Although he is still largely an unknown quantity outside the US, he alienated many during an ill-fated overseas trip in the summer, particularly in Britain, where he appeared to publicly criticise Olympic planning.

Forty-seven per cent of British respondents said a Romney victory would make them feel less favourable towards the US, and only 3 per cent said it would make them feel more favourable.

That sentiment was mirrored in Germany and France, where only 4 per cent and 5 per cent respectively said that he would make them feel more favourable towards the US. In Germany, 48 per cent said it would make them feel less favourable, and in France 38 per cent.

A negative poll among Europeans can easily be brushed aside by the Romney campaign, as their views are unlikely to have any impact on the election. Indeed, Romney might even regard the results as helpful since many Americans, at least in public, claim to be disdainful about European views.

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