I've just sent in my ballot for the presidential election. For the effect this will have on the election, I may as well have just put £1.80 directly into the post box. This is because:
1) I vote in California, which will go blue; and
2) they don't even count mail-in ballots unless the vote is really close, which it won't be, because see 1).
But I felt I should do my civic responsibility. Before I sent the ballot in, I brought it into work so people could see what it was like. The universal reaction was, "There are more than two choices?!" Ha. The other two things people can't understand are: the electoral college (fair enough; that bewilders lots of Americans, I think) and the fact that we vote for the actual person, not the party. That required a bit of explanation, which I'm uncertain cleared anything up.
But, really, it's amazing how interested people are in the US election. All the major news outlets have journalists over in the US covering it. TV channels here showed all the debates. Everyone is really informed about what's happening and at work, we've spent several lunch hours discussing it.
On the one hand, I think it's cool that people are plugged into what's happening in the world and interested in it. On the other hand, I hate that this feeds into the American egotism of "Of course they have to know what's going on here, 'cause we're that important." On the third hand, more than one Briton has told me (especially after Palin was announced as McCain's VP pick), It sucks that we can't vote in your elections, but at least we can be entertained by them.
As a comparison, I consider myself fairly well-informed, and when I was still in the US, don't at all remember seeing or hearing much about British politics, or, indeed, any international politics. Oh, we'd get wind of new leaders (if they lead "important" enough countries) after election or appointment, but we sure as hell didn't hear much about them otherwise. I don't even remember news of Tony Blair and Nu Labour coming in, in the '90s, and that was fairly major.
That concludes my political analysis. Either way, I'm going to be staying up late on the 4th, and drinking. Lots.