August 29, 2019 | By Leena Kim

Mexicans Have Distinctive Views of Trump and of the United States

US President Donald Trump is not a popular man in Mexico. According to a survey conducted by The Washington Post and Mexico’s Reforma newspaper from July 9th to 14th, three-quarters of Mexicans (77%) said they have a bad opinion of Trump, and eight in ten Mexicans (81%) say Trump’s treatment of Mexico is disrespectful. And Mexico President Andrés Manual López Obrador (known more popularly as AMLO) is having a hard time dealing with his impetuous northern neighbor.

However, Mexican views of the US-Mexico relationship are not as negative as their views of Trump. According to a joint survey from the Chicago Council and Buendía&Laredo in 2018, a majority of Mexicans (56%) have favorable views of the US, which is sharply rebounded from 30% in 2017. Still, Mexicans aren’t entirely positive about the relationship: one in four Mexicans (24%) say the US-Mexico relationship is good, while a plurality (42%) say it is bad.

As has been true in the past, Mexicans to some degree separate their views of the United States from views of the US President. According to a survey by Pew Research Center, Mexicans were harsher to Obama than toward the United States. During his first presidential period from 2009 to 2013, Mexicans showed most favorable views to the US and most confidence to Obama in 2009 (69% US, 55% Obama) and reached its lowest rate in 2011 (52% US, 38% Obama). Then it gradually increased again in 2013 by 66% of the US and 49% of Obama. Still, the distinction of their views is more severe in the views of Trump.

How Obrador is handling the Trump and US relationship

These contradictory views are also present in the Mexican public’s views of how AMLO is handling Trump and the US-Mexico relationship. The survey from The Washington Post and Reforma shows that a narrow plurality of Mexicans (47%) approve of the way AMLO is handling relations with the United States, while four in ten (41%) disapprove. When they were asked about their opinions on the way AMLO is treating relationship with President Trump, however, slightly more Mexicans rated AMLO’s treatment of Trump as bad than good (37% bad, 30% good, 24% average, 9% no opinion), the second lowest approval rate among the twelve issues asked about. Lopez Obrador scores lower only on the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime (24%).

Mexicans have a far more negative views of Trump than of the United States or the US-Mexico relationship. While Trump’s actions certainly affect that relationship, the Mexican public balances concerns over Trump with more positive views of the United States.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

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