Minority of Europeans think US election will be free and fair – poll


Fewer than one in 10 Europeans expect next month’s US presidential election to be completely free and fair, and an overwhelming majority say they would like Joe Biden to triumph over Donald Trump.

According to a YouGov tracker survey in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, in only one of these countries – Italy – are more than a tenth of voters confident that the American electoral process will prove irreproachable.

In the other six, support for the view that the 3 November elections will be “completely free and fair” ranges from 2% in Germany to 7% in Spain. In no country do more than 44% feel the vote will even be “completely or mostly” free and fair.

Graphic: free and fair

The survey, run between 15 September and 4 October with a representative sample of 1,000-plus people in each country, found Europeans overwhelmingly eager for a Biden victory, despite not rating him very highly or knowing much about him.

About 80% of Danes say they want the Democratic challenger to win, followed by 71% in Germany, 64% in France and 61% in the UK, while support across the same four countries for a Trump victory ranges from 6% to 14%.

The president enjoys the strongest level of support in Italy, but even there only 20% would like to see him returned for a second term, against 58% who want Biden to win.

Graphic: favourite candidate

European approval for Trump’s presidency so far is very low, with few rating him as either a “great” or even a “good” president – just 5% in Denmark, 10% in the UK and 15% in Italy. Large majorities feel he has been “poor” or “terrible” – 82% in Denmark, 70% in the UK and 61% in Italy.

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Perceptions of Biden are generally muted across the continent, with the belief that the 77-year-old Democrat would make a “good” or “great” president shared by a low of 17% of respondents in the UK and a high of 23% in Germany and Sweden.

While very few feel Biden would make a “poor” or “terrible” president, far more – from 27% in France to 55% in Denmark – say they think he will be merely “average” or confess to not really having a clear idea of what he would be like. When asked how Biden would perform as president, between 21% and 45% answered “don’t know”.

Graphic: Biden

However, when asked about a range of areas from international relations and climate change to the coronavirus, economics, terrorism and peace, respondents in every country think Biden would do a better job on every measure than Trump.

Respondents’ negative views of Trump extend to his impact on their own countries and on the world as a whole. Just 10% to 14% think he has had a positive impact on their country, while 52% to 69% feel his impact has been negative.

Graphic: Trump popularity

Across the seven countries, a low of 6% of Danes and high of 15% of Italians feel Trump has been good for the world, while a high of 84% of Danes and a low of 68% of Italians think the opposite. Between 27% (France) and 44% (Spain) even say Trump has had a negative impact on them personally.

Between 29% and 49% believe a Biden victory would have a positive impact on their own country, and 36%-58% think it would be good for the world – although again, relatively large proportions say they do not know.

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Large proportions, ranging from 47% in Italy to 74% in Denmark, say they believe Trump’s re-election campaign so far has been “mostly dishonest”. Biden’s campaign is more likely to be seen as honest (26%-43%) than dishonest (7%-15%), but once again many more people answered “don’t know” for Biden than for Trump.

In each of the seven countries, more people expect a Biden win next month than a Trump win, but in only one – Denmark – do more than 50% say Biden will win.



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