- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2004

The bad news for President Bush is that most of the world wants him voted out of office in November, according to a poll released yesterday by the University of Maryland. The good news for the president is that few Americans care what the foreigners think about how they plan to vote.

“Only one in five want to see Bush re-elected. Though he is not as well-known, Kerry would win handily if the people of the world were to elect the U.S. president,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).

The survey of nearly 35,000 people in 35 nations found that a majority or plurality favored Mr. Kerry over Mr. Bush. Mr. Kerry was preferred in 30 of the nations, and by an average 2-1 margin.

But Mr. Bush was favored in the Philippines, Poland and Nigeria. His biggest lead was in the Philippines, where he secured a 25 percentage point lead over his Democratic rival.

The survey was conducted during July and August by GlobeScan Inc., a global research firm, which was hired by PIPA. GlobeScan Inc. contracted with polling agencies in the various countries and relied on telephone, Internet and face-to-face interviews.

The poll asked two questions: which candidate the respondent preferred and whether they were comfortable with U.S. foreign policy. The majority of respondents live in urban areas, which would skew the results, polling analysts say.

“I would not take this as really representative. It’s better than anecdotal, but not as good as a real survey,” said Warren Mitofsky, who ran the CBS election unit for 27 years and now conducts exit polling for the television networks.

Among America’s traditional allies, the poll found overwhelming support for Mr. Kerry. For instance, 74 percent of Germans and 61 percent of Canadians preferred Mr. Kerry.

In one of America’s newest allies, Poland, 31 percent preferred Mr. Bush compared with 26 percent for Mr. Kerry. The remainder were undecided.

When it comes to picking a president, the survey found world opinion had little influence on voting choices.

Seventy-four percent of Americans said foreigners’ opinions of the candidates would have no effect on how they planned to vote.

Mr. Bush’s foreign policy also came under attack by foreigners surveyed. In 30 out of the 35 countries, the majority said Mr. Bush’s foreign policy had made them feel worse about the United States.

The only country where a majority of those polled expressed a positive view toward Mr. Bush’s foreign policy was the Philippines.

These results are important, Mr. Kull said, because American voters care about how they are perceived overseas.

In a survey of nearly 800 U.S. residents conducted by the University of Maryland last week, 60 percent said they would be concerned at least somewhat if more people around the world said they felt worse about the United States.

“I think there’s a pretty clear indication that the American public does care about these types of things,” Mr. Kull said.

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