Unscientific election poll: paint Norway blue

Despite the garbage that is thrown about in the runup to Election Day I love the American presidential race. Cable news channels and their obsession with combing over the minutia of the candidates can be exhausting but I miss having a front row seat for the madness.

It turns out that Norwegians are well-informed about the elections. Local media provides daily updates and even covers the power battleground states have, including the importance of my homestate, Ohio. The cover story in popular Norwegian tabloid Dagsavisen (the days news) on Saturday was about how undecided Ohioans will settle the election for the nation.

I made my decision and sent my absentee ballot weeks ago so my vote has been counted – I tracked it online so there’s no chance of it getting “lost.”

The Dagsavisen cover story sparked my curiosity about how Norwegians felt about the US elections. I decided to find out the word on the street and here is what I heard:

Karl-Erik, 57, says its hard not to be aware about the US elections. Although it isn’t a big topic of discussion among Norwegians he says it’s all over the newspapers, radio stations and news channels. He thinks Obama should win because Romney is “just a rich guy coming in trying to be at the top of everything. Being president is the next thing for him, it will look good on his CV.”

Sabina, 19, doesn’t know when Election Day is but she is passionate about Obama because Romney proposes a strict kind of leadership. “I will be worried for the world if Romney wins,” says Sabina. Why? “Because he doesn’t stand for freedom and other Obama-ish things.” English is not her first language and she struggled to find the right words to further describe Romney.

Linn, 26, hasn’t been following the elections closely but knows that tomorrow is the big day. She has faith that Americans will make the right choice, which she thinks is re-electing Obama. “He’s had a tough time these four years but he’s the one who knows how to fix the economy,” she says. “He needs time to continue what he started.” Linn says the presidential election is a subject that comes up often with her friends but they choose not to discuss it with Americans who are voting for Romney. “Its not the right thing to talk about with them.”

Bjørn, 28, says: “Romney is a liar who can’t do what he says he can do.” He says the first thing he’ll do on Wednesday morning is find out who won. He wants Obama to win because he has been successful in creating jobs and a new healthcare plan. Bjørn couldn’t pinpoint what gives him such a negative impression of Romney, but he was sure Obama could fix America’s problems.

Tone, 24, doesn’t know when the elections are and only discussed them enough to say to her boyfriend that the topic is everywhere in the news yet she hasn’t been following. Tone wants Obama to win. “Norwegians love him because he’s pretty cool and sounds great when he speaks.” She didn’t know the name of “that other guy.”

Petter, 55, is skeptical that Americans will make the right choice, which he thinks is to re-elect Obama. His reasons for choosing the President is plain and simple: Romney is too old. As for the election process, Petter thinks its ridiculous that Americans “keep getting back to issues that [Norwegians] stopped talking about 20 years ago, like homosexuality, evolution, abortion.” He says these things don’t matter when it comes to choosing a president, and that where the law stands on those issues should have been resolved already.

I sensed some apathy about the elections among the small selection of locals I spoke to. As an American I like to think that my country is so big and so wonderful that everyone should care, but perhaps Norwegians don’t need to be as vigorous with their interest because they are isolated from some of the ways the US affects the world.

Happy Election Day everyone! Don’t let a nasty poll worker keep you from casting a ballot.


18 thoughts on “Unscientific election poll: paint Norway blue

  1. I, too, am passionate about the election process; and like your Norwegian friends I worry about what would happen if Romney won. But I will be glad when the political emails and phone calls STOP!

      • Yes and no. The phone calls and emails are from my “side” constantly asking for more contributions or volunteer activity.

        The harassment is street-side. I am steeling myself for a trip out today on errands. I have been shouted at at stop lights for my pro-union and pro-Planned parenthood stickers on the car. Today I will be carrying a large “Obama 2012” shopping bag….so if nobody hears from me ever again, it means some yahoo in this red county lost his last brain cell.

      • What state are you in? I can’t believe people are accosting you with stickers. I also can’t believe that there are STILL undecided voters whom the candidates are desperately courting. Great to hear that you’re campaigning though!

      • I am in Washington State, on the city-thick “Blue” side. The eastern half, rural and hard core conservative is where I would expect hostility. But I do live in one of the few red counties this side of the mountains. But the semi-crazed nature of political differences is shocking this year. It reminds me of my childhood when I lived in the South as talk about integrating schools began.

        Yes, basically, I think racism is the engine of hate and dissension this electioni; tho’ they try to dress it otherwise.

  2. “English is not her first language and she struggled to find the right words to further describe Romney.”

    I laughed at that.

  3. hahhaa i was at work today and everyone has talked to me non stop about the election…it is soooo funny to hear what norwegians think about the candidates. turns out many are poorly informed just as the ones ‘interviewed’ above indicated. i am cracking up at the girl who said romney’s policies were too strict and obama’s are not. that is such a funny contradiction 🙂 it has been kind of fun living in a different country during election time…it is fun to see that while people are aware, they are just as poorly educated on issues as the dang americans 😉

    • Considering they aren’t voting and it’s not their country, I was surprised to know that the concept of a swing state made it into local news! I can’t say I know that much about any other country’s election, even in England when I lived there. It’s hard to get interested in another country’s politics to this extent.

      • i so agree. the only political figure i can name here is the prime minister 😉 yea it is cool to have people asking me what state i vote through and i say ‘ohio’…and they are like ‘wow, so your vote is pretty important then, huh?’ 😉 that is definitely cool for sure 🙂

  4. I love this unofficial poll (even though I’m coming a little late to the party.)

    From what I gather in international media, Obama is pretty well liked in most of the world. I know he is in Canada – even though Romney might have made some decisions that would be better financially for us. I had to laugh at an article I read on CNN about Republicans threatening to move to Canada when Romney lost… Canada who has high taxes, universal healthcare, marriage equality.

    In any case, it’s hard for us non-Americans to stay out of American politics. We see it everywhere whether we want to or not!

      • That is funny. I imagine Norway to be a Republicans worst nightmare (politically, that is!) It’s been an easy transition for us as we find it quite similar to Canada.

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