Tuesday, June 18, 2024

AMLO remains popular, even with concerns about economy and security: poll

Inflation is above 8% and violence is an ongoing concern in many parts of the country, but President López Obrador retains the support of a majority of Mexicans, a new poll indicates.

Conducted in October, El Financiero’s latest national survey found a 56% approval rating for AMLO, as the president is best known. That result is unchanged from the newspaper’s previous poll conducted in September.

Just over four in 10 of the 1,100 respondents – 43% – disapproved of the president’s performance, giving him a net positive rating of +13.

While AMLO’s approval rating has declined from the high levels seen earlier in his presidency – even as COVID took an enormous toll and the government’s pandemic response came under fire – he remains a popular president almost four years after assuming the nation’s top job.

His enduring popularity is somewhat paradoxical given that most respondents to the latest El Financiero poll disapproved of the way in which the federal government is handling economic and security issues. Asked how they would grade the government’s performance in the areas of economy and public security, 56% said bad or very bad.

Only 31% of respondents said the government is doing well or very well in the former area while just 30% said the same about its performance in the latter.

The Mexican economy is still growing and the peso has appreciated against the U.S. dollar this year, but inflation remains stubbornly high – 8.53% in the first half of October – despite the efforts of the government and the central bank to bring it under control.

Over two-thirds of respondents – 68% – said that higher prices had put them in a bad mood, although that figure was significantly lower than in previous months.

The president, flanked here by the National Defense Minister and the Navy Minister, has doubled down on militarization of public security. Gobierno de México

The percentage of respondents who rated the government poorly for its handling of public security issues declined 4% compared to September, which is perhaps an indication that people recognize that some progress has been made toward making Mexico a safer country. Official data shows that homicides declined 8.1% in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of last year, but Mexico nevertheless remains on track to record more than 30,000 murders for a fifth consecutive year in 2022.

López Obrador – who before taking office pledged to take the armed forces off the streets – has doubled down on a militarized security strategy, pushing one initiative through Congress that places the National Guard under the control of the army and another than extends the authorization to use the military for public security tasks until 2028.

While there is significant opposition to further militarization of Mexico, a recent survey conducted for the El País newspaper and the broadcaster W Radio found that almost three-quarters of Mexicans agree with the government’s plan to continue using the armed forces for public security tasks until 2028.

The army has also been in the news due to a cyberattack perpetrated by the Guacamaya hacking group that resulted in the theft of a huge trove of emails and documents from the IT system of the Ministry of National Defense.

While AMLO has downplayed the seriousness of the incident, 72% of respondents to the El Financiero poll said that the hacking of Sedena’s servers was very or somewhat serious. Only 28% of those polled said that the government is responding well to the hack, while almost twice as many respondents – 54% – said the opposite. Two-thirds of respondents said that National Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval should appear in Congress to report on the security breach, something he has so far declined to do.

El Financiero also asked poll participants to offer an opinion about the general course of the country under the leadership of López Obrador, who lost two presidential elections before he finally prevailed in 2018. Just over one-third of respondents – 34% – asserted that Mexico is on the right path, while 33% said the opposite. The other one-third didn’t offer a response one way or the other.

Over half of those polled – 55% – rated AMLO positively for honesty, but only 49% praised his leadership and just 44% expressed the belief that he has the capacity to achieve results for the country. The president has made combating corruption a central aim of his administration, but only 35% of respondents said his government is doing a good job in the area.

El Financiero conducted its poll via telephone with residents of all 32 federal entities, and said that the margin of error was +/- 3%.

With reports from El Financiero

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