President López Obrador has rejected recent opinion polls that show that his approval rating is below 60%, charging that he has other information that proves he is considerably more popular.
Speaking at his regular news conference on Monday morning, López Obrador described polls that show his approval rating has declined as biased.
He claimed that a poll published Monday by the newspaper Reforma that showed his rating at 56% had only surveyed certain sectors of the population, including “organic intellectuals” and members of an organization that opposes him and his government.
“I have my own opinion poll [that shows] 70%, 65%, 64% approval,” López Obrador said, adding that if a “revocation of mandate” vote was held today, 70% of people would vote in favor of him continuing as president.
He said that only 25% of people would vote for him to leave office and that 5% don’t care one way or the other.
Responding to a reporter who asked whether his approval rating has fluctuated, the president responded that it has stayed the same.
Without providing specific details, López Obrador also said that there is an international poll that shows he is the second most popular leader in the world. “With the pandemic, I’ve fallen two points,” he added.
“Reforma says that I have 56% approval; I won [the 2018 presidential election] with 31 million votes, what is 56% of 80 million citizens [who are eligible to vote]? Help me to do the math, 45 million – I’m 14 million above even with the Reforma poll [numbers],” López Obrador said.
“[It’s] thanks to the people, who are my guardian angel,” he said. “Thank you very much to the people of Mexico, … I won’t fail them because if it wasn’t for their support, I’d be nothing.”
In addition to the new Reforma poll, two other surveys whose results were published this month show that the president’s approval rating is below 60%.
One conducted by the polling company Enkoll found 58% support for AMLO, as the president is commonly known, while one by the newspaper El Universal found that 53.4% of respondents approved of his performance.
A poll of polls collated by the website Oraculus shows that López Obrador’s approval and disapproval ratings are currently 57% and 39%, respectively.
The president’s collated approval rating has declined 13 points since August 2019, 11 points since the end of last year and six points since April, the first full month of nationwide coronavirus restrictions.
AMLO’s approval rating rose above 80% early in his term, a percentage that was above the highest ratings achieved by any of his four most recent predecessors at any time in their six-year terms.
However, after 20 months in the job, Felipe Calderón, in office from 2006 to 2012, had an approval rating of 62%, five points higher than López Obrador’s current rating of 57%.
Vicente Fox, president from 2000 to 2006, had the same approval rating as AMLO 20 months after taking office while Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-18) and Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) both trailed the current president at 46% and 45%, respectively.
Despite finding that a majority of people approve of the president’s performance, the new Reforma poll, which surveyed 1,200 adults between August 19 and 24, shows that more respondents believe that he is doing a bad job than a good job in six of seven key areas.
In the areas of health, combating corruption, combating poverty, combating organized crime, security and the economy, a greater number of respondents rated AMLO’s performance as bad than those who rated it as good.
The only area in which more respondents rated the president positively was education, with 43% saying he is doing a good job compared to 32% who said the opposite.
Six in 10 respondents said that the strategy against drug trafficking and organized crime – the government has favored a non-confrontational so-called “hugs not bullets” approach that aims to address the root causes of crime rather than aggressively eliminate it – is not working.
Indeed, homicide statistics for the first seven months of the year show that Mexico is on track to record its most violent year in recent history.
With regard to management of the coronavirus pandemic, 52% of respondents to the Reforma poll approved of López Obrador’s performance while 45% disapproved.
Despite Mexico having one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in the world – it currently ranks fourth for total fatalities behind the United States, Brazil and India – and the government being widely criticized for not testing more widely and not enforcing a nationwide lockdown, AMLO said last week that his administration has implemented a “very good strategy” against the pandemic.
Nevertheless, just under one-third of respondents to the Reforma poll said that they personally knew someone who died from Covid-19 and 44% said they knew someone who has been infected.
The survey shows that 48% of people believe that AMLO has taken good decisions with respect to the economy, down six points from March, while 43% regard his decisions in the area as bad, a seven-point spike.
Three in 10 respondents said they had lost their job due to the pandemic and 46% said that they had stopped receiving an income. More than one in five of those polled said they had to sell something to get by and 4% said that they had to move because they couldn’t afford their rent.
Just over half of the respondents – 53% – said that López Obrador hasn’t taken the necessary steps to avoid an economic crisis – the central bank is forecasting a 12.8% contraction this year in a worst-case scenario – while only 39% said that he has.
A majority of respondents – 56% – said that AMLO should suspend construction of key infrastructure projects such as the Maya Train and Dos Bocas refinery and instead dedicate the resources to confronting economic problems created by the pandemic.
With regard to the corruption case against former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya, who has in turn accused three past presidents and several other former officials of corruption, 58% of respondents to the Reforma poll said that nothing will come of it while only 28% believe that it will result in the imprisonment of former officials.