The US Presidential election is decided by the votes of Americans only, but there is an international component in the election climate which may (or may not) influence voting in some quarters.
At the EU Observer, Lucia Kubosova in her February 18, 2008 article French and Germans like Obama, but Britons prefer Clinton writes:
“Most citizens from Germany, France, Italy and Spain would prefer Democrat Barrack Obama to become the next US president, but Britons would vote for Hillary Clinton, according to a poll of some 5000 individuals from the biggest EU states.
The survey was conducted by Harris agency between January 30 and February 8, for the Financial Times.“
Soeren Kern, Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos (GEES, Strategic Studies Group), gives us a detailed news insight into European views on the Presidential candidates in his What European Are Saying About American Democracy, downloadable as a .pdf.
His first paragraph suggests that it is worth our while to read the whole article:
“The outcome of the US presidential election will affect the lives of millions of people around the world. So it’s probably not surprising that many Europeans are resentful that only Americans will have a say in it. European media is saturated with election coverage that is heavily biased in favor of the Democrats. And, as in past elections, European elites are demanding the right to help choose the next occupant of the White House. What follows is a brief survey of what some Europeans are saying about the American way of democracy.“
There is no question that part of the increased foreign interest in the American election is the growing globalization of the world economy, and it is the economic component (economic voting) which always surfaces to be the No. 1 decision-maker when voters actually mark their ballots.
In other words, the average American is going to vote for the candidate who that voter, consciously or subconsciously, short-term or long-term, thinks is good for HIM or HER or their family, or their country, especially in terms of their own economic future and security. It is for that reason that foreign citizens and nations have very little influence on the outcome of American elections, even though they may be greatly influenced by those elections. What is good for America may not be generally good for the world, and the opposite is equally true. One hopes of course for a situation where everybody wins and where the President elected is good for America and good for the World as well, but that is not a determining issue in the election itself.