If the world could vote…

It goes without saying that the United States is the elephant in the room when it comes to global politics. While the ~305 million Americans only make up 4.5% of global politics, each and every one of their votes has far reaching implications. Citizens of nations across the world, my fellow Canadians included, frequently believe that the outcome of the current US election will have a greater impact on their lives than their own second rate domestic talent shows (but more on the Canadian election in a later post).

What if the whole world was, in fact, able to vote in the US election? Where does global opinion sit on the McCain/Obama debate? This website, www.iftheworldcouldvote.com, is seeking to answer the question. Through a viral email campaign, they have succeeded in polling 126,835 global citizens, living in 180 different nations, on how they’d vote in the government election.

I’m not sure if the results are surprising, but they certainly are lopsided. To date, 87.6% of respondents favour Obama. Obviously, this is not a demographically representative sampling, as it skews towards nations with internet infrastructure and invidviduals with the motor skills to type. However, it is interesting to look at the splits between countries.

While I don’t think it is extremely relevant that 100% of the 2 participating residents of Burkina Faso support McCain, it is interesting that his support seems to be strongest in former Eastern Bloc countries (Poland, Czech Republic, former Yugoslavia) and unusual Middle-Eastern bedfellows (Iran, Israel).

The economist is also hosting a global vote at http://www.economist.com/vote2008/?source=hpevents, based on an electoral college system that assigns a set number of votes to each region, based on their population size. Under this system, a whopping 99.8% of the global population would cast their votes for Obama, with the only dissenting members of the electoral college being Greece and Macedonia.

So what’s the point? While the numbers can’t be trusted, they certainly give the impression that everyone loves Obama, everyone loves change, and everyone loves liberalism. Everyone, that is, but a meaningful proportion of the American population which may yet scuttle the dream of an African American President. Ain’t democracy a bitch that way?


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