Vincent Capone

China’s Netizens Ready To Call Winner in U.S. Presidential Election

This image of Obama's worn shoes made the rounds on Weibo months ago, with netizens either deriding the "poor" U.S. or applauding the Pres's common touch

The 2012 election season in the United States is well underway, as President Barack Obama and the Democrats face off against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the Republicans. The stage has been set for this year’s election to be what some believe is the most important in U.S. history, and certainly the most expensive.

As the two candidates square off in America, news about this historic campaign is filling media outlets across the globe, and causing much chatter on Chinese tweeting platform Sina Weibo.

Obama looking good

The general outlook on Weibo favors a win by Obama (“ao ba ma” or 奥巴马 in Chinese) over Romney (“luo mu ni” or 罗姆尼 in Chinese). User @胖娃晶晶 commented: “Romney is hopeless, Obama is a sure win.” The overall sentiment is that the two politicians are not evenly matched, especially in the areas of campaign finances and perceived public support.

Many tweets on Weibo focused on the different strengths and weaknesses that each candidate possesses. As in 2008, Obama’s strength lies in his public outreach through Internet campaigning and networks recruiting young Americans, as pointed out by @咖啡绝对: “Obama’s campaign network exceeds that of Romney’s.”{{1}}[[1]]奥巴马竞选网络宣传力度超罗姆尼 社交网上活跃[[1]] However, many Chinese netizens are quick to comment on the Romney campaign’s ability to bring in large donations and what that could mean for the overall election. User @didue wonders: “Romney’s campaign raised $30 million more than Obama’s, but how will this impact the election?”{{2}}[[2]]罗姆尼目前筹到的竞选经费足足比奥巴马多了三千万,不知对选情会带来怎样的影响?[[2]]

As Romney returned to the U.S. following an international tour to highlight the foreign policy leg of his campaign, netizens have much to say about that as well. User @HOUXIANHUA picked up on this, noting that “recently there is more news about Romney than Obama.” @杨梅之雉笔涧 commented on the political gaffes made by Romney, pointing out: “If the economy is Obama’s weakness, then diplomacy is Romney’s.”{{3}}[[3]]如果说经济已成为奥巴马的软肋,那么,外交则绝对是罗姆尼的短板[[3]]

Regardless of Romney’s treasury of campaign funds or spotlight in the media, @赵东勋 sums up a general sentiment: “Romney is no match for Obama.”{{4}}[[4]]罗姆尼不是奥巴马的对手[[4]] If the number of Weibo tweets on each candidate is the measure, this user is right: Romney garners over 367,000 Weibo tweets to Obama’s 17.6 million-plus. 

Romney (and Ryan) getting some love too 

Governor Romney, as seen on Weibo

However Romney is not without his share of Chinese supporters. @Kril-高 supports Romney, tweeting: “Hey, support Romney, knock out Obama!”@五道口技校生 doesn’t agree with President Obama’s campaign platforms, throwing his support behind Romney in mixed Chinese and English: “I hope Romney wins. I am sick of Obama’s phony promise [sic] and sick idiology [sic]. Obama’s life philosophy is only suited for the poor.”

Romney’s recent Vice Presidential pick of Rep. Paul Ryan (“lai en” or 莱恩 in Chinese) of Wisconsin helped persuade some Chinese netizens to join his camp. Quite a few female netizens used a blushing emoticon when tweeting about Romney’s VP pick. The entrance of Ryan into the campaign was enough to sway @花好月圆寿福禄, who tweeted: “Romney is really interesting, I’m optimistic about Ryan. Obama can take a break, ha!”{{5}}[[5]]这个罗姆尼太有意思了,我看好瑞安!奥巴马可以休息了,哈哈![[5]]

Look at the policies, people!

Yet many netizens urge their followers not to be swayed by the popularity of a given candidate or by Romney’s new VP pick, and instead to let proposed policy and party platforms dictate support. @安粮期货宋怀兵 wants to remind netizens how each candidate is represented, tweeting: “The U.S. presidential election has already begun. Please don’t forget that while Obama represents hard work, Romney represents the banks and the arms dealers.” {{6}}[[6]]美国总统竞选已经开始,请不要忘记奥巴马代表的是实业、罗姆尼代表的是金融和军火商。[[6]] And @安云cloudy wants the Chinese people to keep in mind each candidate’s view on foreign policy towards China: “America’s presidential election is only three months away. Obama’s re-election won’t be easy, and it seems Romney has the upper hand. But if Romney is elected, he’ll be very tough on China.”{{7}}[[7]]美国大选大概就只两三月。奥巴马欲连任不易,看来似乎罗姆尼占上风。若罗当选,对中国政策会很强硬……[[7]]

As the election continues to dominate news both in the U.S. and abroad, one thing is for sure: Many are becoming exhausted by campaign rhetoric. Even in China, @安琪QIAN is tired of hearing about the U.S. presidential election; “Turn to a media source any given day and all you see is Romney, Romney, Romney…followed by all kinds of news attacking Obama, attacking Obama, attacking Obama…”{{8}}[[8]]天天打開各大新聞網,滿眼都是羅姆尼、羅姆尼、羅姆尼…… 然後各種攻擊奧巴馬、攻擊奧巴馬、攻擊奧巴馬…[[8]]

We feel for you, @安琪QIAN, but stay strong. There are still two long months ahead.

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Vincent Capone