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President Obama and Mitt Romney are locked in an incredibly tight race at home, but overseas, the vote isn't even close. A BBC World Service opinion poll found that residents of 21 foreign countries overwhelmingly support Obama, with an average of 50 percent hoping that he wins a second term and only 9 percent favoring Romney. France is Obama's biggest booster — 72 percent of respondents support him. The only country where Romney enjoyed greater support than Obama? Pakistan. So why are foreigners in the bag for Obama? Here, three theories:
1. Obama's foreign policy works
Overseas, the president has an undeniably strong record, says Jeffrey Simpson at Canada's Globe and Mail. Obama has shown he's capable of "mixing muscularity with restraint," extricating the U.S. from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, avoiding direct intervention in Syria, and resisting "the push to recklessly attack Iran" — all while relentlessly going after terrorists and playing a limited but key role in forcing regime change in Libya. Meanwhile, the world sees Romney displaying "the hubris of the powerful and the ignorance of the uninformed," thumping his chest and scaring folks overseas.
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2. The world is associating Romney with Bush
In many ways, this isn't really a reflection on Romney, says Max Fisher at The Washington Post. In Pakistan, for example, people aren't embracing Romney so much as protesting Obama's drone program in areas near the Afghan border. And more broadly, Romney's overseas poll numbers "are consistent with [Sen. John] McCain's in 2008, suggesting the possibility that many foreign publics associate Republicans with George W. Bush, whose administration was deeply unpopular abroad."
3. Soaking the rich is popular overseas
The fact that France is more pro-Obama than anyone else says it all, says Matthew Balan at News Busters. France is a leftist nanny state, and Socialist President Francois Hollande is trying to slap a 75 percent marginal income tax on people earning more than 1 million euros a year, a move the Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardiner called "economic suicide." Such proposals "line up nicely with the president's platform." No wonder he polls so well there.