This week has seen the climax of the US Presidential election race between the incumbent Democrat President, Barack Obama and the challenging Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. In the lead-up to the result day the polls suggested that it was a close-fought contest with most political commentators predicting that it would go to the wire and very few calling which way it was likely to go. In the end though, Tuesday night saw Obama surpass the 270 points he needed to see him over the finishing line and ensure that he will continue in office for another 4-year term.

Obama was the over-whelming favourite when he first came into office 4 years ago (fighting off the challenge of Republican John McCain), but the enthusiasm for his re-election appears to have waned on both sides off the Atlantic following his limited success in remedying America’s internal problems and growing transatlantic tensions relating to the European financial crisis. Despite his apparent failure to live up to his hype over the past 4 years, Obama still seems to have been the over-whelming popular vote outside of America, not least here in the UK.  An online opinion poll hosted by the Sun newspaper revealed a huge majority in Obama’s favour with him picking up 81{af331c3cb52abe27a47f1f5b71fb5068c938efb8d5a4e6cddc7f2780f48bb99c} of the votes and Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that he was happy that his ‘friend’ had been re-elected. This appears to follow suit with much of Europe, where, despite a generally right of centre political bias, European leaders appeared to be more than pleased that Obama was to retain the presidency, and opinion polls in Germany and France suggesting that only 5{af331c3cb52abe27a47f1f5b71fb5068c938efb8d5a4e6cddc7f2780f48bb99c} of those polled were in favour of a Romney victory.

It appears to this ‘fairly neutral’ observer, that the European pro-Obama sentiment stems as much from a suspicion over Mitt Romney’s personality and his credentials to lead the world’s most powerful nation, as it does from confidence in Obama’s political acumen. It seems to be a case of ‘better the Devil you know’ with many people wary of what the more outspoken Romney might do if he were to get into power. He certainly did himself no favours in the popularity stakes during his recent gaffe-ridden European visit when he managed to offend many Britons by suggesting Britain was incapable of organising a successful Olympic Games and similarly upset many Europeans with his ill-advised comments relating to his thoughts on European welfarism.

Only time will tell if Obama’s latest stint will be considered to have been successful by the US public, but from a British perspective we feel his re-election can only be seen as a good thing. Even if Obama isn’t the political saviour that the early ‘Obama-mania’ suggested he might be, at least we know what we are getting with him. A strong alliance between Britain and America must surely be considered by most to be generally desirable, and we can’t help but feel that relations may have taken a significant turn for the worse had the election result gone the other way. Hopefully, we can now look forward to an upturn in the UK economy as financial markets react positively to the news of Obama’s re-election.