11/06/2012 07:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

If the Current U.S. Presidential Candidates (Obama vs. Romney) Were Running in Your Country, Who Would You Vote For and Who Would Win?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Mukund Madhav Varma, First Year Physics Grad Student

I want to begin this answer by saying Barack Obama, because that is who I (and just about everyone I know) would vote for. However, I do not think it would be right for me to impose my own opinions on a country of 1.2 billion. Instead, what I would like to do is to break down their stands on the most important issues into three categories "Deal breaker," "Meh," and "Clincher." I will then apply these three categorizations, keeping in mind general Indian sensibilities, rather than my own, which ensures that my answer is more accurate, and that I can only be held responsible for what I think Indians think, and not for what I think. And since there are so many Indians, any detractors can be told that they do not represent the majority's opinion, and hence I will be left blame free. After denying all responsibility, we will naively subtract the number of deal breakers from the number of clinchers, and whoever has the higher total will win the election. This answer also assumes that the issues do matter in this election, and a random person will not just vote for a candidate because his/her grandfather was a great national leader or if the candidate distributes blankets in his/her village the day before the election.

I am sourcing the issues and the candidates' stance on them from here - and here - Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney in 2012 Presidential Candidates ( Please tell me if these contain any inaccurate information.

Ok, so here goes.

  1. Unemployment - Obama wants to focus on rural communities, 70% of India lives in villages - Clincher!

    Romney's talking about some global economy and foreign markets mumbo jumbo - Meh.

  2. Social Security - Obama wants to protect and strengthen SS. Which means free stuff! Indians love free stuff - Clincher!

    Romney wants to encourage people to create individual accounts. Who will get the government's money then? Something is fishy here - Deal breaker!

  3. Tax Reforms - Obama wants to reintroduce higher taxes for the top 1%. We are a socialist country (it's in our preamble) - Clincher!

    And if Romney is opposing this, that automatically makes it a Deal breaker for him.

  4. Gay marriage - Strict no-no for most Indians. Deal breaker for Obama.

    And Clincher for Romney

  5. Abortion - Most Indians would find it ridiculous that a woman should not have the right to get an abortion in case of rape. We passed an act in 1971 which allows abortion in special circumstances (Abortion in India ( Hence, I assume that this is a Clincher for Obama.

    However, this would not be a deal-breaker for Romney. So Meh.

  6. Death Penalty - Obama has no stance.

    Romney wants it. I believe India wants it too judging by the number of "Hang Ajmal Kasab" posts I get in my facebook feed everyday. Clincher for him.

  7. Sex Education - Obama does not favor "Abstinence only education." Sex is a fairly big taboo in India. Deal breaker.

    And Romney gets another Clincher.

  8. Climate change, Medical Marijuana, Stem Cell research will be relative non issues
  9. Oil - Obama wants to eliminate oil subsidies. Given how high petrol prices already are, most of India will be vehemently against this. Deal breaker

    It is unclear to me what Romney is saying about this issue. Hence, Meh.

  10. Healthcare - Obama care = More free stuff, no reason not to want it. Clincher.

    Why wouldn't Romney want to provide better and cheaper healthcare to everyone? Deal breaker

  11. Foreign relations - Obama wants to work with other countries. We like that. NAM didn't work out to well for us, did it? Clincher

    Romney believes in exceptionalism and unilateralism. Yeah, right, and what when one or both of our allies decides they want a piece of India? We don't want a repeat performance of 1962. Deal breaker. (Although I doubt if anyone else will step up if it is China who decides to attack.)

  12. Gun control - Oh god yes. How ridiculous is it to let just about anyone own a gun. As if there wasn't enough crime already. Clincher for Obama.

    Deal breaker for Romney.

  13. China - I think most Indians believe that we have a lot to gain by increasing trade relations with China. Also, a significant part of India happens to be communist. So this will definitely be a Clincher for Obama, but maybe just Meh for Romney.

  14. Education - Increase federal (central) investment in college education. Hell yeah! We almost uniformly believe that education is the way to make India a superpower. The majority of the country is poor and cannot afford to depend on private enterprise. Clincher for Obama, Deal breaker for Romney.

I think these are the issues that will matter the most to Indian voters.

Continuing with our naive political analysis and calculating scores, we find Obama at +5 and Romney at -3.

Therefore, Obama would win in India.


Answer by David Bigsby, Canadian no.20,701,001 of 33,894,000

I'm stealing the awesome breakdown by issues that Mukund Madhav Varma put together and am evaluating it for Canada.

  1. Unemployment - Obama wants to focus on rural communities, Romney's talking about some global economy and foreign markets mumbo jumbo. Canadians love our farmers, but we love the exporting parts of our economy too, even if they're only raw materials -- SPLIT!

  2. Social Security - Obama wants to protect and strengthen SS, while Romney wants to encourage people to create individual accounts. Canadians trust our government programs more than we trust the market -- OBAMA!
  3. Tax Reforms - Obama wants to reintroduce higher taxes for the top 1% and Romney is opposing this. Canadians love lowering income taxes, but if someone's got to take it in the shorts, let it be the rich -- SPLIT!

  4. Gay marriage - Obama is for it (tepidly) and Romney is against. This became legal in Canada via the courts in 2003 and by legislation in 2005, and there's hardly been a whimper about it except on the religious fringe, and running against gay marriage in Canada is a good way to get yourself labelled an extremist and to make yourself unelectable in all but bible belt ridings -- OBAMA!

  5. Abortion - Obama is for, Romney against. Canada doesn't even have a law governing abortions. We had one, but it got struck down in court in 1988, and attempts at introducing new legislation have been as popular as running against gay marriage -- OBAMA!
  6. Death Penalty - Obama has no stance. Romney wants it. Canada hasn't had the death penalty since the 60s and if there's ever been an attempt to bring it back in my lifetime (and I'm in my 40s), I can't remember -- OBAMA!
  7. Sex Education - Romney favors "Abstinence only education," but Obama doesn't... and neither do most Canadians -- OBAMA!
  8. Climate change (Obama against, Romney unclear), Medical Marijuana (Obama against, Romney unclear), Stem Cell research (Obama pro, Romney against) -- some Canadians have strong feelings on these issues, and yet none are decisive election issues, although arguably taking a strong issue against climate change or stem cell research could get one branded a bit of an extremist -- SPLIT!

  9. Oil - Obama wants to eliminate oil subsidies; Romney is unclear. Canadians will take a lot of persuading to have their gas prices hiked further, but then gas taxes in Canada are already about 3x those in the USA, so this may be a non-issue. SPLIT!
  10. Healthcare - Both Obama and Romney are anti-Canadian on this one -- Obamacare doesn't insure everyone, and it's based on private insurance, while the provincial governments provide basic health insurance in Canada -- but since Romney plans to undo Obamacare, he would be the bigger threat... and would be virtually unelectable because of that position. OBAMA for the win!

  11. Foreign relations - Obama wants to work with other countries. Romney believes in exceptionalism and unilateralism. Canadians like Obama's foreign relations better, but then we're one of the relations. This is a bit of a trick question -- it's hard to get in the head of a country that's been a superpower for 60 years. CAN'T HONESTLY ANSWER.

  12. Gun control - Obama for, Romney against. And Canadians are pretty happy with our strict control on handguns, assault rifles, etc. (Regulating rifles is a quick path to defeat in rural elections, though.) OBAMA!

  13. China - Hey, is either candidate really coherent in their China policy? And is anyone really comfortable with China's economic and strategic rise? We Canadians love selling China our raw materials, but we don't like them buying our companies... SPLIT!

  14. Education - Obama wants to increase federal (central) investment in college education, and Romney not so much. Canada's education system is already largely funded by the public, albeit at the provincial level, so OBAMA!
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