Four Country U.S. Presidential Election Poll

British, French, Canadian, and US Public Opinion Shows Full Majority Believe there are "Serious Flaws in the US System for Electing Presidents" in Wake of Florida Stalemate

New York, NY - Results from an Ipsos-Reid four country poll conducted between November 17th and November 27th shows that the majority of the public in France (75%), the United Kingdom (68%), Canada (63%) and the U.S. (59%) see the prolonged wrangle over the outcome of the United States presidential election as a "major issue that shows serious flaws in the U.S. system for electing Presidents."

In the U.S. 6 in 10 (59%) believe the Florida recount and court disputes is a "major issue that shows serious flaws." But as much as the American public's confidence in the system may have been rattled by the prolonged Presidential contest, foreign public opinion is even less impressed.

  • Three out of four French respondents (75%) agree that the vote recounts and court cases showed "serious flaws in the U.S. system."
  • Over two in three respondents in the United Kingdom (68%) share this assessment
  • Canadians are more charitable to their North American neighbors, but 63% of Canadians still agree that the situation shows flaws in the way Americans elect a President.

Amidst the continuing controversy over the election outcome, a minority of residents in the four countries still express confidence in the resilience of the American system.

  • One third (33%) of Canadians view the situation as a "minor issue" that arose from a close election rather than a sign of serious problems with the system. Higher income Canadians (39%) and those with a university education (41%) are more likely to say that the current situation is a 'minor issue".
  • But far fewer French respondents take such a relaxed view - barely one in five (21%) go so far as to characterize the situation as minor. This skepticism pervades all levels of French society, with higher income and education groups only slightly more confident than the population at large.
  • The average Briton's confidence in the American political system has also withered - only 23% of the U.K. respondents dismiss the situation as minor.
  • Americans themselves are the most forgiving with more than a third (36%) saying that this is a "minor issue".

    "These overseas results show that even in countries that have historically had close ties to the United States, many people are having serious doubts about the U.S. Presidential electoral system," says Ipsos-Reid Vice-President Edward Morawski. "Whether this translates into a different perception of America as the leading democracy in the world depends on how - and when - this controversy ultimately plays itself out."

    The Contested U.S. Presidential Election Viewed at Home and Abroad

    Now I'd like to ask you about the recent U.S Presidential election. The race has been very close nationally, and particularly close in Florida where there have been vote recounts in certain areas and disputes in the courts about how best to proceed. Based on whatever you've seen, read or heard about this issue and how it has been handled by the various U.S. authorities, would you say this is ...

    ...a minor issue simply resulting from the close race, and not a sign of serious problems with the U.S, electoral system

    COUNTRIES POLLED BY IPSOS-REID:

    ...a major issue that show serious flaws in the U.S. system for electing presidents?

    21%

    France

    75%

    23%

    United Kingdom

    68%

    33%

    Canada

    63%

    36%

    United States

    59%

    "Don't Know" responses: France (4%), U.K. (9%), Canada (4%), U.S.A (5%)

    The Ipsos-Reid overseas polling took place during the height of the Florida ballot recounts and court challenges. French polling interviewed 480 adults across France between November 24th and 25th, while 405 adults in the UK were polled between November 20th and 27th. In Canada, 1501 adults were interviewed between November 17th and 22nd. The French and British results are accurate within plus/minus 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The U.S. and Canadian results have respective error margins of plus/minus 3 percentage points and 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    IpsosReid has been tracking public opinion around the world for more than 20 years and has become a leading provider of global public opinion and market research to private, public and not-for-profit organizations in over 50 countries. It is a member of Paris-based Ipsos Group, ranked among the top ten research groups in the world.

    For further information, please contact:

    Edward Morawski Vice-President New York Ipsos Reid (212) 265-3200

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