The president's latest approval rating. The president's latest performance rating. reforma

EPN’s approval rating plunges to just 12%

Economy replaces security as most important problem facing Mexico

The president’s approval rating has plummeted to new depths, the economy is now the No. 1 preoccupation of Mexican citizens and the upstart political party Morena is the favorite among voters.

Those are the results of the latest opinion poll by the newspaper Reforma, in which Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval dropped to just 12%, half what it was in December and a decline attributed by Reforma to the January 1 increase in fuel prices.

It is the lowest presidential approval rating in decades, according to a report by Zeta Tijuana. The percentage of people who disapprove of the president’s performance was 86%, a figure that has been rising steadily since April 2013 when it was just 30%.

For 59% of respondents their financial situation is “very affected” by the increase in the prices of gasoline and diesel, which were between 15% and 20%, while for 41% the economy and poverty are the main problems facing Mexico today.

That percentage shot up from just 16% a month ago.

Concerns about security saw a similar reversal: 22% labeled it the country’s principal problem, down from 51% last month.

As for which party would get their vote “if an election for president were held today,” 27% selected the left-wing Morena, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, former leader of the Democratic Revolution Party, whose own rating doubled in the Reforma poll from 5% to 10%.

The losers were the opposition National Action Party, which polled 24%, down from 27%, and the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, the choice of 17%, down from 22%.

For most, the country’s economic situation has got worse: 78% said it has worsened in the last 12 months, well up from the December figure of 54%.

And the president is to blame: 60% said Peña Nieto was mainly responsible and 29% said it was due to international pressures.

How the president has been handling his duties with respect to three key areas didn’t get him much support either. Seventy-three per cent said his handling of unemployment was unfavorable, up 9% since December, 81% said the same about his efforts to combat corruption and 82% were likewise unimpressed with his performance with regard to the economy, up 8%.

Although more than half of those surveyed had never heard of it, there were few hopes for its success among those who were aware of a new agreement to strengthen and protect families’ financial situation.

Eighty-seven per cent did not believe the accord would succeed in its objective to avoid indiscriminate price increases stemming from the new fuel prices.

Other goals are to modernize public transit, reduce salaries of high-level officials and combat corruption. Most — 72%, 82% and 86%, respectively — didn’t believe they would be achieved.

The president lost support as a result of the accord: 55% said their opinion of him had worsened, while 56% approved of the stand that the business group Coparmex took against the agreement.

Coparmex described it as a communications strategy designed to improve the government’s image.

Fully 89% of those polled by Reforma agreed with that assessment.

The survey was conducted through interviews with 1,000 adults between January 11 and 15.

Mexico News Daily

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