President López Obrador has the support of almost six in 10 Mexicans as he begins his final year in office, poll results indicate.
A poll conducted by the El Financiero newspaper found that López Obrador had an approval rating of 58% in September, while one carried out by the company Mitofsky for El Economista detected 59% support for the president.
AMLO’s approval rating increased slightly compared to the polls’ findings a month earlier. He has maintained support of above 50% throughout his presidency, according to El Financiero poll results, with his popularity peaking at 81% in the first quarter of 2019.
The publication of the latest results comes as López Obrador enters the final 12-month period of his (almost) six-year term. He will hand over the presidential sash to his successor on Oct. 1, 2024, five years and 10 months after he was sworn in.
Published on Tuesday, the Mitofsky/El Economista poll results show that support for AMLO is strongest in southern and southeastern Mexico and certain northern states. His approval rating was 60% or higher in 16 of Mexico’s 32 federal entities including Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila and Tamaulipas.
The only entity where López Obrador’s approval rating was below 40% was Guanajuato – the only state where he didn’t win the popular vote in the 2018 presidential election.
The president’s high approval rating in southern and southeastern Mexico – where the government is building several major infrastructure projects including the Maya Train railroad – is unsurprising as he has long enjoyed strong support from residents of that part of the country, where poverty levels are higher than in the more developed center and north.
In contrast, AMLO’s popularity in Coahuila is noteworthy as the state has long been a stronghold of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The neighboring state of Durango is also currently governed by the PRI, while the other three northern states where López Obrador’s approval rating is above 60% have Morena party governors.
The Mitofsky/El Economista poll, which surveyed over 56,000 people, also gauged support for AMLO among different sectors of the population. His approval rating was highest among “campesinos” (smallholder farmers), at 70.4%, followed by students, 69.7%; informal sector workers, 62.6%; employees, 60.5% and housewives, 58.8%.
Only 32.6% of surveyed company owners expressed support for the president while his approval rating was also low among professionals, 34%; teachers, 46.4%; retirees, 48%; and public servants, 48.5%.
El Financiero, which surveys 1,100 people for its monthly polls, found minimal deviation in support for López Obrador, but the newspaper did detect notable changes in sentiment toward the government’s performance in specific areas.
The percentage of respondents who described the government’s management of the economy as bad or very bad rose to 52% in September from 44% in August, while negative perspectives on public security increased to 67% from 61%.
The increase in negative assessments of the government’s economic performance was recorded despite fairly strong growth, low unemployment and declining inflation. Violence remains a major problem in some parts of the country, although homicide numbers are lower than they were in the early years of López Obrador’s presidency.
The percentage of El Financiero poll respondents who believe the government is doing a poor job combating corruption rose seven points in September to 47%. Just 31% of those polled said the government is doing a very good or good job in reducing corruption, which is a central goal of López Obrador’s administration.
The government’s standing did improve in the areas of social support and education. Fifty-six percent of respondents said the government is doing well in the former area, up from 52% in August, while 49% rated its performance in the latter area positively, up from 46% a month earlier.
The government has spent big on its welfare and social programs, raising pensions for seniors, offering support payments to people with disabilities, providing educational scholarships and establishing employment programs such as the Youths Building the Future apprenticeship scheme and the Sowing Life reforestation initiative.
The improved result in education could be a reflection of the reduction in media coverage of controversial new school textbooks, which created an uproar in August.
The president’s personal attributes may be the key reason why his approval rating remained high in September even as poll respondents marked his government poorly in the key areas of economy and security.
Almost six in 10 of those polled – 59% – responded good or very good when asked to assess López Obrador’s honesty, while 53% rated him positively for leadership. However, only 43% of respondents said his ability to deliver results was good or very good.
Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum will be hoping that AMLO’s enduring popularity will give her an advantage at next year’s presidential election.
Sheinbaum, a political protege and close ally of the president, will represent the ruling Morena party and its allies at the election on June 2, 2024, while Senator Xóchitl Gálvez will be the candidate for the Broad Front for Mexico opposition bloc, made up of the National Action Party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the Democratic Revolution Party.