Taiwanese favor Obama over McCain, poll shows
By Joseph Yeh
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
Page 4
2008-10-08 01:21 AM
As many as 81 percent of Taiwanese respondents would vote for Barack Obama as the next U.S. president even though many of them have limited understanding of the two presidential candidates, according to the results of a global presidential poll released by the Reader's Digest magazine yesterday.

On the other hand, Taiwanese showed little support for John McCain, with only 6 percent of the respondents saying that they would vote for the Republican candidate if given the opportunity, according to the survey.

The poll was conducted by the Reader's Digest between June and July, in which a total number of 17,000 people in 17 countries, including Taiwan, the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Poland, Russia, India, were asked whom they would like to see in the White House next year.

"Obama's charisma, his youth, his African-American background and his claims to demand change are probably the main reasons he has won such huge popularity outside America," said Chang Jaw-ling, research fellow in Academia Sinica's (中央研究院) Institute of European and American Studies, in a press conference held in Taipei yesterday where the survey result was revealed.

Regardless of who gets elected as the next U.S. president, the government of Taiwan is expected to maintain friendly relations with both parties, Chang said.

Tuan Cheng, director of National Chengchi University's (國立政治大學) Institute of International Relations, who also joined the press conference, said that domestic issues will be the main concern of the elected U.S. president, noting that both candidates are paying little attention to the Taiwan issue and have never mentioned Taiwan during their campaigns.

"We conducted the survey since we want the people around the world to give us their views on the current U.S. presidential candidates," said Joel Poon, editor in chief of Reader's Digest Asia-Taiwan at the press conference.

The results were not unique to Taiwan - worldwide respondents to the survey voted in favor of Obama in every country polled, with the exception of the United States, where McCain was preferred over Obama by a narrow margin (38% to 36%).

In all 16 nations surveyed outside the United States, Obama led McCain by huge margins. These ranged from an 84 percent margin (the Netherlands) to 35 percentage points (India and Russia).

However, Chang said it should also be noted that the survey was conducted some three or four months ago when the media attention focused on the Democrat's primaries.

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