Global ‘enthusiasm’ for Bush’s departure.

The 2008 U.S. elections are attracting an “eager” audience worldwide. This past week, for example, major British newspapers “devoted more than 87 pages to news of the U.S. primaries, including 22 front-page stories.” Much of the enthusiasm, according to the Washington Post, is for the end of the Bush presidency:

bushdoor.jpg But much of the enthusiasm comes from anticipation of President Bush’s departure, according to several analysts. U.S. prestige and popularity in much of the world have sunk to historic lows since Bush took office, over such issues as the Iraq war and climate change. Many analysts said the election has created high expectations that the new president will be more in tune with the rest of the world.

“In many capitals people have been waiting for this change for some time,” said Rosa Balfour, a senior analyst at the European Policy Center, a Brussels-based research group.