WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More Georgians say that they would like to see Republican Sen. John McCain elected U.S. president (23%) than say the same about Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (15%), while a clear majority of Georgians say they don't know (57%).
It is surprising to see how little interest Georgian residents have in the U.S. election, especially when considering that a majority of Georgians believe it makes a difference to their country who is elected president of the United States.
Gallup surveyed Georgians in June 2008, before their country's recent confrontation with Russia vaulted its relationship with the United States into the headlines. Nonetheless, it is important to note Georgia has forged close ties with the United States since Mikheil Saakashvili became president in 2004.
Still, the finding that Georgians are more likely to prefer McCain rather Obama (eight-percentage-point difference) stands in stark contrast from what Gallup Polls find around the world. In the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, for example, strong majorities prefer Obama to McCain. Further, even in other countries with high percentages of "don't know" responses, Obama generally wins among those who do respond.
What Sets Georgia Apart?
McCain's lead in Georgia likely stems in part from President Bush's attention and praise of the country during his administration. In the most recent survey, 41% of Georgians approved of U.S. leadership, versus 23% who disapprove. This again contrasts what Gallup finds around most of the world. Thus as the Republican nominee, McCain may benefit from the close ties the Bush administration has forged in Georgia, as well as Bush's visit to the country in 2005, where we called the former Soviet nation "a beacon of liberty."
Another factor is McCain's direct involvement in Georgia. While Obama has never visited Georgia, McCain is reported to be in frequent contact with President Saakashvili, and has traveled to Georgia several times, even once visiting the now much-discussed region of South Ossetia.
Gallup is polling citizens of more than 70 countries about their views on the U.S. election and plans to report the first wave of results in early September on Gallup.com.
Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,080 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in June 2008 in Georgia. For security reasons, Gallup did not poll in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.