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What is the Value of International Polls about the US Presidential Candidates?

Government & Politics

I saw the results of a recent opinion poll about the US presidential election that amazed me. While many recent polls of US voters reveal a virtual tie in presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, a BBC poll surveying citizens from other countries about the US president found overwhelming support for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. In this late summer/early fall study by GlobeScan and PIPA of over 20,000 people across 21 countries, 50% favored Obama and 9% favored Mr Romney.

What is the Value of International Polls about the US Presidential Candidates? image 63592042 worldservicepoll 464 obama embargoed23102012

Global Business Needs Global Feedback

Companies conducting international business regularly poll their customers and prospects across the different countries they serve in hopes to get better insights about how to run their business. They use this feedback to help them understand where to enter new markets, guide product development, and improve service quality, just to name a few. The end goal is to create a loyal customer base (e.g., customers come back, recommend and expand relationship).

The US government’s policies impact international relations on many levels (e.g., economically, financially and socially). Could there be some value from this international poll for the candidates themselves and their constituencies?

Looking at the results of the poll, there are few implications that stand out to me:

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  1. The Romney brand has little international support. Mitt Romney has touted that his business experience has prepared him to be an effective president. How can he use these results to improve his image abroad?
  2. Many international citizens do not care about the US presidency (in about half of the countries, fewer than 50% of respondents did not express an opinion for either Obama or Romney).
  3. After four years of an Obama presidency, the international community continues to support the re-election of Obama. Obama received comparable results in 2008.

I like to use data whenever possible to help me guide my decisions. However, I will be the first to admit that I am no expert on international relations. So, I am seeking help from my readers. Here are three questions:

  1. Are these survey results useful to help guide US constituencies’ voting decision?
  2. Is international citizenry survey results about the US presidential candidates analogous to international customer survey results about US companies?
  3. If you owned a company and where selling the Obama and Romney brand, how would you use these survey results (barring simply ignoring them) to improve international customer satisfaction?

I would love to hear your opinions.

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