drugs The word drugs is what comes to mind for many when they think of Mexico.

Few Americans have favorable image of MX

Only 18% would feel safe traveling to Mexico, compared to 84% for Canada

Mexico’s image in the United States is a tarnished one, judging by the results of a study that examined Mexico’s brand north of the border.

A YouGov survey conducted in early June found that only 22% of Americans have a favorable image of Mexico, compared to 75% for their northern neighbor, Canada.

While 84% said they would feel safe traveling to Canada, just 18% said the same about traveling to Mexico. Similar views were seen with respect to the economy: 83% saw Canada’s as a modern economy but only 16% believed the same of Mexico’s.

The survey was commissioned by Vianovo, a consultancy, and GSD&M, an advertising agency. The two firms did a similar one in 2012, when the results were similar to those of the more recent poll.

“The stability of the numbers from 2012 to 2016 is remarkable,” said Vianovo partner Michael Shannon. “These results suggest that Donald Trump’s rhetoric on Mexico is a symptom – not a cause – of the country’s poor image in the United States. Mr. Trump has exploited the pre-existing beliefs that many Americans hold about Mexico, some of which are based on reality and much of which are the result of misperceptions.”

For GSD&M, the results aren’t good news for the North American trade partnership. “The imbalance creates political risk for the overall North American partnership and could undermine trade, investment and security collaboration,” said the firm’s CEO, Duff Stewart.

The study also asked about U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement: 32% said the U.S. should withdraw, 30% that it should stay and 37% did not have an opinion.

American’s negative view of Mexico was fueled by drug-related violence, corruption and safety concerns. Mexico was seen as a source of problems by 54% rather than a good neighbor and partner.

One-third of the 1,000 adults surveyed mentioned “drugs” as one of the first three words that came to mind whey they thought of Mexico.

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