Monday, June 30, 2008

Prime Minister Obama, Anyone?

Why not? It's hard to dislike the guy

If Barack Obama doesn't quite manage to defeat John McCain in a presidential campaign that could easily go either way, he should at least be comforted to know his advancement opportunities won't quite stall on him.

In a recent poll, the Strategic Counsel found that not only is Obama more admired in Canada than his presidential opponent, but he vastly out-scored all of Canada's own leaders, as well.

Claiming the number one spot with 26% support was Obama. Stephen Harper was within striking distance with 21%, and well ahead of John McCain's notably anemic (to put it lightly) 3%.

In fact, McCain ranked last. He was even doubled up by the implicitly unlikable Gilles Duceppe.

This, of course, is the least of McCain's polling troubles. In the early going of the 2008 presidential contest, McCain is trailing Obama in the vast majority of public opinion polls, in some cases by double digits.

Of course, a lot can happen between now and November, and the American Electoral College far from guarantees that mere popularity will determine the President.

In another interesting tidbit from the poll, Stephane Dion managed a mere 5% support.

But to treat this as an indictment of Dion's leadership would be to misread the poll. There is undoubtedly significant cross-border partisan support for both Obama and Dion: and the poll fails to account for the number of Obama supporters who also support Dion, just as it fails to account for the number of Harper supporters who also support McCain.

At least in terms of a Conservative/Republican and Liberal/Democrat divide, the poll very much could be read as a near dead heat between the two cabals, with the Liberals/Democrats nursing a seven point lead (but only if one transplants all of Obama's supporters into the Liberal margin -- an unlikely event considering the number of NDP and Bloc supporters who would undoubtedly support Obama as well).

And if one pays close enough attention to Obama -- in particular words -- he does hold a notable resemblance to certain political leaders Canadians have witnessed before -- although, ironically, some of these particular leaders weren't particularly popular.

Notably, Obama mixes the political monism of Preston Manning with the idealism of Pierre Trudeau, with the passionate commitment to social justice of John Diefenbaker, and more charisma in his pinky finger than these three men combined enjoyed in their entire bodies.

That would be a tough combination to beat on either side of the 49th parallel.

Naturally, the very idea of Prime Minister Obama is simply too much to ever fully imagine -- but it is fun to ponder.

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