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Sweden: it's an Obamanation

David Landes · 4 Nov 2008, 14:57

Published: 04 Nov 2008 14:57 GMT+01:00

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At the weekend, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper published the results of a Synovate survey showing that 71 percent of Swedes wanted to see Obama as the next President of the United States, while only 5 percent said they stood behind John McCain.

Nearly a quarter of those polled, however, said they were undecided.

Among members of the Riksdag, McCain’s support is considerably higher, however, registering at 16 percent.

Nevertheless, 73 percent of Sweden’s parliamentarians said they supported Obama.

In many ways, the results aren’t surprising considering Sweden’s political landscape tends toward the left in relation to that of the United States.

However, the poll also revealed some pronounced differences in opinion between Swedes who identify themselves with various political parties and Sweden and elected officials from those parties.

For example, 74 percent of Moderate Party supporters said they supported Obama, while only 24 percent of the party’s Riksdag members favoured the Democratic candidate.

Similarly, 44 percent of parliamentarians representing the Moderate Party, which sees McCain’s Republican Party as their sister party in the US, expressed their support for the Republican senator from Arizona, while only 7 percent of Moderate Party voters said they supported McCain.

Similar discrepancies appeared among members of the Christian Democrats, with support for McCain much higher among Christian Democratic Riksdag members than among the party’s supporters.

But despite his party being one of Sweden’s most conservative political parties, Christian Democratic Riksdag member Otto von Arnold is rooting for Obama.

“He most represents ‘the American Dream’ where anyone can succeed. The United States needs to shed its war-faring reputation, the negativism of Bush, and the strong influence of the Christian right,” he told DN.

But Moderate parliamentarian Anna König Jerlmyr, along with many of her colleagues, thinks McCain would be the best choice because of his stance on free trade and economic policy.

“He has voted against unfinanced tax cuts and support reducing taxes on work,” she said.

Story continues below…

And while support for McCain was nearly equal for Centre Party parliamentarians and its supporters, the party’s Riksdag members showed a much level higher of support (86 percent) for Obama than did the parties voters (60 percent).

However, 28 percent of Centre Party voters remained undecided, while the party’s Riksdag members had all made up their minds for either McCain or Obama.

Overall, four of the seven political parties represented in the Riksdag showed no support for McCain whatsoever.

The poll was based on 1,543 interviews carried out between October 13th and 21st. Of inquiries sent to Riksdag members, DN received responses from 66.5 percent of the 349 members of Sweden's parliament.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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