What if the rest of the world had a say in the U.S. presidential elections? Their votes may not count, but that hasn’t stopped others from asking.
It turns out that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton can count on the support of 18 of the world’s 20 leading industrial nations if the world could vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump gets top billing from just one country’s people: Russia.
Surprisingly, neither candidate can count on the support of their home country – at least not if the U.S. election were a free-for-all where people could vote for multiple candidates from each party. That honor goes instead to Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and self-described “democratic socialist” who is challenging Ms. Clinton for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination.
Those are the findings of a new opinion poll released Tuesday, commissioned by Handelsblatt and conducted by YouGov, which asked 20,000 people across the world’s 20 leading economies, the bloc known as the G20, who their favorite is among the current crop of candidates running for U.S. president.
Asked which global personality is most trusted, the incumbent U.S. president tied with Pope Francis.
Ms. Clinton wins the overall poll by a landslide, with 35 percent of G20 voters picking the U.S. Democratic party’s leading candidate. A former first lady, Ms. Clinton also served as a New York senator and U.S. secretary of state for four years under President Barack Obama.
Her support is biggest in countries such as Mexico, Italy, Germany and Brazil. In Mexico, she even received more than 50 percent of votes.
Mr. Trump, the populist billionaire who has drawn condemnation from a number of international politicians for his outspoken stances on immigration and Muslims, finds himself in a distant second place globally with just 9 percent of the vote.
The only country that would settle for Mr. Trump is Russia, whose president Vladimir Putin has praised the Republican candidate as a “bright and talented person” and the clear front runner to win the Republican party’s presidential nomination. Mr. Trump has returned the favor, praising Mr. Putin for garnering the respect of his own people.
As a result, 31 percent of Russian citizens said they would vote for Mr. Trump if given the chance. That’s twice as many as any other country and compares to just 10 percent for Ms. Clinton. His next most popular countries were South Africa, Canada and the United States.
Just 2 percent of Mexicans voted for Mr. Trump, who has vowed to build a “great wall” along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Mr. Sanders, who is giving Ms. Clinton a run for her money in the Demoratic primaries, came in third globally with 7 percent.
But he can claim the win on home soil: 25 percent of U.S. voters picked the Vermont senator, more than any other candidate. Ms. Clinton came in second with 23 percent and Mr. Trump third with 14 percent.
Barack Obama may not be on the ballot in November, but the outgoing U.S. president remains deeply popular around the world.
Asked which global personality is most trusted, the incumbent U.S. president tied with Pope Francis, ahead of the Dalai Lama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr. Obama wins among under 35 year-olds, while Pope Francis wins with those above 35.
Most voters would also elect Mr. Obama the world’s global leader if they were given a choice. Asked to pick among the current crop of G20 leaders, the U.S. president polled more than double any other leader with 23 percent. He’s most popular in Brazil, and least popular in Russia, where just 1 percent picked the leader of their country’s biggest historic rival.
Second on the list was German Chancellor Angela Merkel with 10 percent, with Mr. Putin close behind.
Only in Russia and China did a majority of those polled pick their own leader as their preferred head of a global government. By comparison, just 25 percent of Americans, 15 percent of Germans and just 7 percent of British voters would nominate their own statesman to lead the world.
Is U.S. power and global influence on the wane? It’s a question that has been debated more heavily in the past eight years since the financial crisis than perhaps at any time in the last century. Handelsblatt’s poll, however, suggests that the United State still holds quite some sway as an example for the rest of the world.
Asked which G20 country remains “an important world power”, three-quarters of G20 citizens still name the United States. Asked which is the most likable, and the United States is also still on top. On the flip side, however, the United States is considered the second-most “aggressive” country in the world behind Russia.
Perhaps more surprisingly, given the financial crisis and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States is still rated to have the best political and economic system of the G20 countries. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, comes second in both categories.
Where the United States has lost some admiration is in a different, more opaque category: The country with the best “quality of life.” Here, it seems most people in the G20 would rather live in the U.S.’s northern neighbor Canada.
Germany comes in second here too – the Russians and Spanish in particular, it seems, would like to move to the country – while the United States places third.
Canada also seems to be the country where its own people are happiest. Three quarters of its citizens rated Canada as having a high quality of life. A majority in Australia, Germany and the United States also rate their own quality of life highly.
At the other end of the scale: Countries such as South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Italy seem to have the worst view of themselves, with less than 10 percent of their citizens picking their own country out of the bunch.
What about the worst quality of life in the eyes of other nations? That distinction goes to India, which was picked by 36 percent of G20 citizens. South Africa comes in second with 24 percent, and China third with 21 percent.
So what are the biggest problems facing the world right now? Perhaps it’s unsurprising to hear that nearly all G20 countries put terrorism and/or war at the top of their list.
The only country that didn’t consider terrorism or war its number one challenge is China. Citizens here actually chose climate change or the environment – the second-highest concern for most other countries around the world.
Behind climate change come worries over equality, or the gap between rich and poor. It’s a concern that’s especially high on the list in Russia and South Korea, as well as most industrial nations. The only wealthy nation where equality did not make the top three? That would be Germany, one of the few countries that picked a more recent topical challenge: the influx of refugees.
(YouGov asked 1,000 people in each of the world’s 20 leading economies about their attitudes in a poll conducted online between January 19 and February 23.)
Christopher Cermak is an editor with Handelsblatt Global Edition. To contact the author: email@example.com