Thursday, June 13, 2024

After 4 years as president, poll shows AMLO’s approval starting to dip

Four years after taking office, President López Obrador has an approval rating of 55%, according to the latest poll conducted by the newspaper El Financiero.

However, only 41% of those polled described the first four years of his government as a success and just 31% believe that Mexico is on the right track under AMLO’s leadership.

El Financiero polled 1,100 adults across all 32 federal entities for the survey, and found that 55% approve of the work López Obrador is doing as president.

That’s a decline of one point compared to the newspaper’s previous poll, conducted a month earlier in October. The percentage of respondents who disapprove of the president’s performance rose by one point to 44%.

ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox
Although AMLO’s approval rating is strong, he actually falls below the approval ratings of other recent presidents two thirds of the way through their terms, including Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Carlos Salinas. (Photo: Government of Mexico)

Inflation remained high in November, although the annual headline rate eased slightly in the first half of the month to 8.14%.

The political issue that attracted the most attention last month – during which the latest poll was conducted – was the federal government’s plan to overhaul Mexico’s electoral system via a constitutional bill.

Among other objectives, the bill seeks to disband the National Electoral Institute (INE) and state-based electoral authorities and replace them with one centralized body.

Protests against the electoral reform proposal were held in cities across Mexico on November 13, while a “counter-march” led by the president himself was held in Mexico City last Sunday.

Just under half of those polled by El Financiero – 48% – said they approved of the protests in defense of the INE, while 45% said they disapproved.

Asked about the AMLO-led “counter-march,” 45% said they approved, and the same percentage of people indicated the opposite. The remaining 10% didn’t offer an opinion.

In a lengthy address after Sunday’s march, López Obrador enumerated 110 “actions and achievements” of his government during its four years in office. The president says he is leading a “fourth transformation” of politics and public life in Mexico, and a majority of poll respondents – albeit a slim one – agree with him.

Asked to choose between two different descriptors to sum up the first four years of the López Obrador-led government, 52% opted for “transformation,” while 34% selected “more of the same.”

March to defend the National Electoral Institute in Mexico City 2022
Marches to protest AMLO’s proposed electoral reform saw heavy turnout in Mexico City and many other cities across the country. A slight majority in El Financiero’s poll, 48%, approved of the marches. (Moisés Pablo Nava/Cuartoscuro)

The remaining 14% of respondents declined to endorse either of those options.

While only 41% said that AMLO’s first four years in office were a success, that figure is 10 points higher than the 31% who described the period of governance as a failure.

Just under half of those polled – 49% – said that the federal government has offered “hope” over the past four years, while 33% asserted that it has led to “disappointment.”

The percentage of respondents who believe that Mexico is on the wrong track under López Obrador’s leadership increased one point to 34%, while the percentage of those who think the opposite declined three points to 31%.

El Financiero also asked the 1,100 respondents to offer opinions about three key infrastructure projects of the current government: the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) in México state, the Dos Bocas refinery and the Maya Train railroad.

AIFA, which started operations in March, and the refinery on the Tabasco coast, which officially opened in July although it’s not yet refining oil, were seen as “very good” or “good” projects by 45% of respondents, while 44% offered the same opinion about the U.S. $10 billion Maya Train, which will connect cities and towns in five southeastern states and is slated to start running in 2023.

Just over one-third of respondents – 34% – said they had a “very bad” or “bad” opinion of AIFA, 29% said the same about the refinery and 37% condemned the Maya Train, whose construction has been opposed by residents of Mayan communities, environmentalists and others.

Asked to assess López Obrador’s personal attributes, 53% of those polled praised him for his honesty, while 51% expressed a positive opinion about his leadership skills. However, only 42% said he has shown he has the capacity to achieve results.

The Pemex Olmeca Refinery under construction in Tabasco, Mexico
AMLO signature infrastructure projects the Olmeca Refinery in Tabasco and the Felipe Angeles Airport in México state were rated as “very good” or “good” by 45% of the poll’s respondents. (Presidencia)

The president’s approval rating four years after he was sworn in is more than double that of Enrique Peña Nieto at the same point in his 2012-18 presidency, but AMLO is not as popular now as Felipe Calderón, Vicente Fox, Ernesto Zedillo and Carlos Salinas were two-thirds of the way through their six-year terms.

López Obrador’s presidency will end on Oct. 1, 2024 – rather than Dec. 1 as has previously been the case – and a new president will be sworn in the same day.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum are the leading contenders to secure the ruling Morena party’s candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, while the main opposition parties are expected to choose a common candidate from a large field of potential contenders.

With reports from El Financiero 

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