It would be hypocritical to say that the French do not like Americans. No matter where you look, there’s evidence of American influence, whether it’s the McDo on every other corner, the American team jerseys sported by the youth, or the American music blasted at the clubs. What I have discovered, time and time again, is that the French do not hate Americans. On the contrary, they love Americans. They love us for our differences: our friendliness, our freedoms, our independence. But one thing they do not love, (and this is where Americans confuse French animosity) is our president.

In a poll published in France just after the second presidential debate, nearly 9 out of 10 French people would support John Kerry if they could vote in the US election. The numbers are not surprising in a country that has been very anti-Bush and anti-war. “We are in a logic of ‘Anything but Bush,” Andre Kaspi, a professor of North American history at the Sorbonne, told La Croix. “French people know little about John Kerry, but it doesn’t matter. Whoever the candidate was against George Bush, he would get the same support here.”

The poll by the CSA research group and published by La Croix newspaper also examined French sentiments towards US-French relations. Fifty-seven percent thought US-French relations would improve under Kerry, while 36 percent thought ties would not change. Seven percent thought relations would improve if Bush won re-election; 65 percent said they would stay the same.

What’s interesting is the percentage of people that thought relations would stay the same, regardless of what candidate won the November 2 election, albeit more people thought ties would improve under Kerry. Basically, the poll highlights the widened gap between the US and France and the growing concern and interest in US foreign policy. No matter which candidate wins the election, he will have the challenging task of rectifying relations with our friends across the pond. Bon chance!

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