PARIS -- The people of France have spoken on the subject of the U.S. presidential election. Naturally, you couldn't care less about what anyone else (let alone the French) thinks about you or your electoral choices, right?
The French aren't particularly interested in appearing too keen on America, either. A Harris Interactive poll found that 66 percent of respondents either care little about the U.S. presidential race or not at all. However, should a gun be put to their head mid Gallic shrug, 88 percent of them would take Barack Obama, merci, with 10 percent choosing Mitt Romney.
When this modern-day underground French Resistance of 10 percent who dared to admit a preference for Romney (at great risk of being blacklisted from Parisian soirées) were asked to toss out some reasons why Romney was their choice, the most frequently occurring words included, in descending order of frequency: "Obama," "more," "change" and "did." So ironically, Romney now owns the term "change" -- at least in France. And apparently, he also has the resounding advantage of not being Obama.
Presumably, these 10 percent also have higher expectations than what they feel Obama has proven capable of delivering - hence the "more" reference - and credit Romney with a history of positive actions.
Those who would opt for another Obama term most frequently justified their choice with words like "president," "social," "did," "good" and "Romney." So Obama appears to benefit from already having his behind in the chair, from the fact that he isn't Romney, and for being seen as more social-welfare oriented. Also, they seem to think he "did" some "good" things.
But here's the kicker: While 60 percent of French Obama supporters feel "closer to Obama's values than those of Mitt Romney," only 36 percent believe that Obama is "competent," and a mere 14 percent believe that Obama is in the best position to find solutions to the fiscal crisis. These views can hardly be chalked up to party preference, either, since only 30 percent of Obama supporters said they preferred Democrats to Republicans.