Saturday 18 October 2008

The mystery of Bush's Belgian appeal

About to catch the Eurostar to speak to the Flemish Social Democrats' conference in Brussels tomorrow morning.

This could also be a chance to investigate a mysterious quirk in yesterday's international poll on the US election, carried by The Guardian, Le Monde, Le Soir and other newspapers.

The public in all eight countries preferred Barack Obama to John McCain, with the lead ranging from 17 to over 60 points, and majority support for the Democrat everywhere except Poland (43-26) and Mexico (46-13)

A second question asked Since the start of the Bush Presidency, how has your opinion of the US changed?

In seven out of eight countries, opinions of America had changed for the worse.

But not in Belgium. Voters there do back Obama over McCain by 62% to 8% - quite a similar result to those in Britain and France. Yet 52% of Belgians have improved their opinion of America since 2000, while for 39% it has deteriorated. That's a 13% positive Bush bounce in America's global appeal among Belgians, compared to deficits of 44% in Britain, 64% in Canada and 68% in France.

Why? I shall try to ask around and report back ...

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