Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere
November 6, 2000

U.S. Election: Foreign Policy, Trade And Character In The Final Count

In the final stretch of the U.S. presidential marathon, foreign media analysts from Europe, Asia, Middle East, Western Hemisphere and South Africa braced themselves for tomorrow's results, and speculated on what impact a new administration would have on foreign policy, trade and globalization. Many of these same observers were amazed by how much weight character and personality carry in the American electoral process. Based on an analysis of 163 reports from 37 countries covering the period of October 22 to November 6, a majority of observers--who two weeks ago were reluctant to make any predictions about the "tightest race in U.S. history"-- were, on the eve of the "Bush-Gore showdown," more likely to anticipate a Bush win, specific opinions for or against notwithstanding. Notably, over a third of editorialists worldwide, or 35%, remained neutral on expressing a clear-cut opinion on the candidates. Neither Vice President Gore nor Governor Bush received the glowing endorsement of the foreign media, and the commentary focused as much on their perceived shortcomings as on citing their strengths. For example, Mr. Bush received almost the same number of positive (23%) as negative comments (24%), while Mr. Gore enjoyed more favorable reviews (21%) than unfavorable reviews (10%). Mr. Gore was preferred in the European, South Asian, Israeli and South African press, where continuity of U.S. foreign policy and engagement was a valued commodity. In contrast, Mr. Bush scored more points in East Asia and the Western Hemisphere where the issues of free trade and the question of character resonated more strongly. A number of observers recognized Ralph Nader as a player, agreeing with London's liberal Guardian that the Green Party candidate, "effectively enfranchises many alienated voters--and does a sterling service to a democracy in decline."

The following is a breakdown of media opinion by region according to most favorable, critical and neutral views expressed in the overall editorial sampling, with the number of actual comments in parenthesis.

Media Views of Candidates

Region Pro-Bush Pro-Gore Anti-Bush Anti-Gore Neutral Gore-Bush Pro-Nader
Global 14% (23) 21% (34) 15% (24) 10% (16) 35% (57) 6% (9)
Europe 8.3% (8) 26.1% (25) 21% (20) 5.2% (5) 33% (32) 6.3% (6)
Middle East 20% (1) 20% (1) 60% (3)
East Asia 45.5% (5) 9% (1) 45.5% (5)
South Asia 9% (1) 36.4% (4) 9% (1) 45.5% (5)
S. Africa 16.6% (1) 33% (2) 16.6% (1) 16.6% (1) 16.6% (1)
W. Hemis. 24% (8) 9% (3) 6% (2) 21% (7) 35% (12) 6% (2)

Editor: Irene Marr

Europe Middle East East Asia South Asia Africa Western Hemisphere