Yesterday we published the first findings of our poll of nearly 2,000 UK citizens. It found that the British people held many misconceptions about America and was featured in London's Daily Telegraph.
The second part of our survey explores whether support for the two candidates for the US Presidency in this year's elections could survive the big decisions that await them. The answer appears to be 'no'. Although polls consistently suggest that most Europeans prefer Barack Obama to John McCain we wanted to dig deeper and find out whether that support would survive 'events'. Our poll suggests that Barack Obama would have a short-term effect on anti-Americanism but that he does not inoculate America against the unpopularity of big decisions.
Iran is probably the biggest decision in the next President's in box and the hope must be that negotiations will still succeed in stopping Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But what if they don't? The next American President will be damned if he does launch a military strike against Iran but also damned if he fails to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons:
The biggest risk to Barack Obama's candidacy would be protectionist policies that hurt British industries. 70% of Britons would think less of a President Obama if "he announced measures that would stop some British companies enjoying free access to American markets."
John McCain faces the same consequences of difficult decisions although he is pledged to move America towards freer trade. 49% of British voters would think less of a President McCain if he "downplayed the US-UK relationship and worked more closely with other European nations instead". Consistently, however, the biggest reductions in favourability come with Barack Obama; perhaps because European expectations of his presidency are high but are likely to be difficult to sustain.
Also see our briefing Will anti-Americanism end if Barack Obama becomes President?