US readers might be surprised to know that the primaries are dominating the attention of the rest of the world. They often head the nightly news bulletins from London to Lima, and the level of interest among the wider population - particularly in the UK - is unprecedented. Everyone knows the names of the contenders. Everyone has a view.
These days we not only live in a global economy, but also in a global culture. Policies devised in Washington have an impact in Birmingham, England, as well as Birmingham, Alabama, and while we don't have a vote in the UK, we certainly have an interest.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the standing of the US has plummeted across the world over the last five years. The most recent survey in the UK suggested 90% opposed to US policies, compared to 75%+ support in the pre-Bush years. The detail of the survey shows that any negative feelings lie towards the US Government, not the US people. There remains extremely high levels of affection and admiration for the US, as a country, and for what it symbolises.
Therein lies the reason why the primaries have gripped the attention of Brits to such a degree - not just because of the big issues at stake, but also because they represent the chance of a fresh start. People want to be friends with the US again.
And almost universally, the person everyone is interested in, is Barack Obama.
There's "Vote Barack Obama" grafitti on inner city walls and in provincial towns (though I'm not wholly sure who is being exhorted to vote). Most recently I saw that grafitti scrawled on a blackboard as part of an art installation in a gallery in Birmingham, where visitors were asked to leave their thoughts in chalk.
Part of the reason, I think, is that while Hillary Clinton and John McCain are undoubtedly robust candidates in their own right, their messages are directed into the heart of America. Quite rightly, I suppose - that's where the votes lie.
But from the outside looking in, the feeling is that Obama is speaking to the world. His message resonates across the UK, Europe and beyond. Almost single-handedly, he's got people here looking at the US in a new light, and believing that old friendships and common aims can be rekindled. That's a remarkable ability, and it bodes well for America, and for the world, if he becomes President.
Causes Mark Chadbourn Supports