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Now that American voters are drawing a clearer outline of November’s presidential contest, the rest of the world’s opinion about who should become the next president of the United States is also turning crystal-clear. With a couple of notable exceptions, the verdict is all-but unanimous: Just about everywhere, people want Hillary Clinton to replace President Barack Obama.

That is the undeniable and overwhelming impression one hears when exploring opinions in different parts of the globe. I heard it asking individuals of a wide variety of backgrounds while traveling in several countries. But don’t take my word for it.

A recent poll of people in 20 countries — the G20 group of the world’s largest economies — confirmed it. In all the countries polled, Clinton beat Trump by wide margins. The only exception was Russia, where Trump beats Clinton by more than 20 points when pollsters asked whom they want to see as the next U.S. president. In China, there’s ambivalence.

Everywhere else, Clinton outpolled Trump by enormous margins: in Mexico she beat him by 54 percent, in South Korea by 37, in France by 30, in Japan by 27. The list goes on with similar results from South America to East Asia.

Now that it seems increasingly like the election will pit Clinton against Donald Trump, the whole world is really watching, and the overwhelming reaction is widespread rejection of Trump in most quarters, along with palpable enthusiasm for the prospect of a Clinton presidency.

The distinct sentiment I encountered matches the findings of another survey in which pollsters asked Europeans how they would feel if each of the top candidates won the election. Europeans chose Clinton as their favorite by a landslide. The main feelings they predicted for themselves if Clinton becomes president: relieved, optimistic, happy. If Trump wins: afraid, disappointed, sad.

I found that combination of anticipation and apprehension in conversations in Arab states, where I was surprised to see positive sentiment for Clinton not only among women, which I expected, but also among men, and among people of all ages. I’ve heard the same in conversations with Asians, Europeans and Latin Americans.

In Israel, where most people believe President Obama’s foreign policy, particularly his nuclear deal with Iran, made them less safe, Clinton is also the top choice according to surveys, even though she helped lay the ground for the Iran deal.

Over the years I have probed global opinions about U.S. elections, but have never found the combination I see today, near-uniform excitement for one candidate and utter disdain combined with fear for another.

In 1999, during the Bush vs. Gore campaign, I asked Fidel Castro if he had a favorite. He told me he did, but said he would not reveal it because his endorsement would hurt his preferred candidate. He had a point.

The endorsement of foreigners, even when they’re not controversial figures, has an odd effect on American voters. John Kerry had to downplay his international appeal. This time, however, the respected weekly The Economist declared a Trump presidency one of the top risks to global stability. Clinton could benefit from noting that practically the entire world wants her to become president.

While Obama’s social views hold great appeal, particularly in Europe, and he is personally liked, his foreign policy is a different matter.

Millions of Europeans are deeply disappointed with Obama, and their complaints line up with some of Clinton’s own disagreements with the president. Some in Europe blame Obama’s failure to act in Syria for the refugee crisis. Obama’s reluctance to use force and his rapprochement with Iran irks Washington’s Arab allies.

After George W. Bush’s militaristic foreign policy and Obama’s pendulum swing to other end, Clinton is perceived as potentially the Goldilocks president, not too hot, not too cold. If current sentiment holds and Clinton becomes president, she could face a problem Obama encountered: living up to outsize expectations.

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Frida Ghitis can be reached at fjghitis@gmail.com.

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(30) comments

vindicator

"Around the world, it’s Clinton by a landslide." That is because the rest of the world has bought and paid for her. The DNC has rigged it for Clinton and all you
sheep have bah, bah, bah, bah, bought it!

Climatehoax

Tower, if their health care is better than why do people travel the world over to be Treated here? Also is everything cheaper because the government controls the companies and manages wages and research? Are their tax rates much higher to keep costs down? It sounds like you are describing a socialist system when you talk of Europe. How are things cheaper and better? Our government over the last 8 years couldn't agree on how to manage a one holer, and left to executive decision, this president would have had 4 people in the one holer at a time, or none. If a good idea came up to be made law (Kate's law) for example, which would have stopped many lives from being lost, the rep Christmas trees it so bad Obama wouldn't have signed if anyway. The thinking of the 2 parties is getting us no where. We need outside help, that's Trump, I'll take a chance, he can't possibly do any worse.

oldhomey

Well, your screen name certainly explains the netherworlds from whence you arose, Climatehoax. People who have the money go all over the world when they are desperately ill, searching for the best specialists possible. Thousands of Americans go to Europe because in some cases European specialists attract them, just as thousands of Europeans come here to the Mayo clinic, etc. The difference is, ordinary, run-of-the-mill taxpayers like you and me can easily be bankrupted by one serious illness in our family, but that doesn't happen in Europe. It's social democracy, not pure socialism. They still have free market capitalism. Sweden has more billionaires per capita than the U.S. does. And, yes, European tax rates are much higher to keep costs down for the run-of-the-mill worker like you and me, not to mention the welfare mom and the corporate CEO. Our government for the last eight years struggled because a Tea Party right wing radical arm of the GOP declared from the outset that it would pass no legislation that came from the Obama White House and that its soul purpose was to see to it that Obama was a one-term president. You want to fricasee somebody for this state of affairs? Start with Mitch McConnell, throw in John Boehner and for sauce add the congressman from Janesville. If you think Trump is the answer, you haven't got the foggiest idea of what the question is. But that is clear already simply from the screen name that you use.

oldhomey

Excuse me, "sole" purpose, though their misguided efforts probably from their point of view are soulful.

bytheway

The first thing Trump has going for him is that the Mexican and Arab governments don't want him, the far right religious zealots don't want him, and the Republican elites don't want him. The second is that most people realize Hillary is a proven political disaster.

oldhomey

by the way, bytheway, it looks like you are in synch with Trump's over the top political declarations, putting them on the table and then withdrawing without explaining how you came to that conclusion. So tell us how Hillary is a proven political disaster. Over the top accusations about Benghazi, her marriage and the manifold accusations against her from her husband's time in office, all of which have proven to hold no water, do not count.

bytheway

She was the clear front runner against Obama and then she lost to him. She was the clear front runner this year and now she is feeling the Bern. Finally, last month she was slated as the clear winner in November only to find that now she is equal in the polls to Donald Trump. We will see which of us is right come November.

tower

Which polls are those my friend? Only one I know of is the Rasmussen Poll which is notoriously slanted to Rep. Taking all the polls together President Hillary is going to bury this guy. CNN reported the Electorial College amounts are something like 340 to 190 for Hillary. When you look at the polls she beats him from anywhere from 13 to 16%. Try and get the facts correct.

oldhomey

Ah, yes, bytheway. We will see who is right come November. Your less than massive evidence that you proffer here that Hillary is a proven political disaster could also be used to say she is a resilient politician who takes defeat in stride, learns from it, grows and moves on. Are you going to be one of the embittered crying for an overthrow if Clinton wins? Remember the 2000 election, when Al Gore won the popular vote by half a million over George W., and it looked like the Florida results were going to be reversed when the conservative supreme court stepped in and handed the state and the election to Bush. Democrats ever since have been angry, but there were no long-lasting, damaging tantrums that I expect to see erupt from the Neanderthal subspecies that has become a core of the Republican ultra-conservative wing.

lostinparadize

What was that newspaper headline from long ago ? Oh yeah, "Dewey Wins ". That's what this column reminds me of, but I digress.

screen name

The fact that other countries don't like Trump is a plus as far as I'm concerned. They want us to follow their socialistic approach and a weak US, they want hillary to help make that happen.

Clarification

Another still water that doesn't run deep falling for Trumps con game. "I'll take away this and give you something soooooo much better!" And what would that be? "isn't this a great tie. I love this tie!"

Machiavelli

[thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]I hear Vladimir Putin is a superdelegate.[alien][alien][alien]

Un-Democratic Party: DNC chair says superdelegates ensure elites don’t have to run “against grassroots activists”

Critics say the unelected superdelegate system is rigged. Debbie Wasserman Schultz basically admitted this is true


http://www.salon.com/2016/02/13/un_democratic_party_dnc_chair_says_superdelegates_ensure_elites_dont_have_to_run_against_grassroots_activists/

Condor Kid

Trump has served his purpose of destroying the Republican party but he will never be president.

Melowese Richardson

"the rest of the world’s opinion about who should become the next president of the United States is also turning crystal-clear"

Hate to break it to yah, Frida but the rest of the world doesn't vote in our election, and no one should really care what the rest of the world thinks.

Deadwood subscriber

"...no one should really care what the rest of the world thinks."

Spoken like a true ostrich.

Melowese Richardson

Do you really think that the opinion of the rest of the world affects us in any way?

If you are so worried about other country's opinions, why aren't you worried about it right now? Can their opinion of us get any lower than it is right now under the current administration and our feckless leader Obama?

Cassandra

If you don't think the opinion of the rest of the world matters you are even more naive than I thought. Wow, what a stupid comment!

Climatehoax

Both parties are inept at accomplishing anything helpful to the MAJORITY of US citizens. Obama wants us to be like Europe, why? What have they got better than us? Let's be concerned about this country, scr ew the rest if the world, Trump is a new direction, and right now, economically, socially and morally, after 8 years of O dum ski we can only move one direction, UP, TRUMP 2016!

tower

Climaxhoax, well since you asked. Their HC is better and cheaper for the masses. They have reduced or free secondary education. Have a lower rate of poverty. Better rail transportation and cheaper prices for cellphone, cable TV (and way more channels) and air travel.

Climatehoax

If it mattered what the rest of the world thinks, we'd let them vote. If it were up to Hillary I'm sure she would allow that. It's great that leaders and diplomats of other countries are nervous about a Trump presidency. He won't make a world apology tour, nor will he take blame for things this country did along time ago. Myhope is he doesn't allow other countries to use us as a door mat, taking advantage through bad trade deals and Iran nuke deals, Obama throws money we don't have at everything.Trump is correct we have stupid people running our country, have had for along time.

tower

They do vote by going their own way, like when W went into Iraq.

Clarification

With a pack of stupid comments to your credit, this one tops them all.

oldhomey

". . . no one should really care what the rest of the world thinks . . ." except for all the Trumpsters and all the Tea Partyers who claim that respect for the US and its foreign policy have fallen on extreme hard times since Obama took office and Hillary worked as his secretary of state. None of those accusations, of course, is true, they are just ignorant certitudes preached by those who want to believe in them against all evidence. Comprende, Melo?

Climatehoax

Amen!!

oldhomey

Climatehoax completely validates his ignorance with this amen.

Cassandra

It is ALL BUT unanimous. Check the polls and the election results. Mrs. Clinton may be the pundit favorite and have the inside-the-beltway vote of the superdelegates, but she continues to lose while she sucks up the corporate money.
Bernie Sanders has much better poll numbers when put up against Trump.
And he actually has ideas that aren't recycled republicanism.

Climatehoax

Bernie is going to have a difficult time getting college professors to teach for no pay(free college) .Bernie is a joke I laugh when he says free stuff for all. He should say free college for you because we're going to make the working stiff pay for it. The funny thing is Bernies supporters would be the first free college graduates who would be paying 50% income tax to pay for the next wave of free college. Think they'll like that?

Climatehoax

One more tidbit, the top 1% pay 33% of the taxes in this country. You could take EVERY penny from the top 1% and it wouldn't run this country for a week. Do you think nailing them for more taxes is going to really help?

tower

Another little tidbits for morons. The top .01% of American society owns over 50% of the nations assets while paying only 33% of taxes. I don't know why people like you feel sorry for the .01% and think they are going broke. No one said that no other taxpayers is going to not pay a dime. Plus, your idiocy on free college. No one said workers at the U aren't going to get paid. Tell me why we can spend over $1T in atomic bomb research but can't spend $70B for free college for 2 yrs?

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