Under AMLO, Mexican Views of the US Rebound from All-Time Low

March 6, 2019

By: Jorge Buendía, Director, Buendía & Laredo; Esteban Guzmán Saucedo, Survey Research Director, Buendía & Laredo; Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Craig Kafura, Assistant Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy

Many analysts expected that Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s landside electoral victory in Mexico would precipitate a mano a mano showdown with US President Donald Trump. Yet both presidents have made conciliatory gestures toward each other, and Mexican public opinion toward the United States has completely shifted course from 2017. A recent Buendía y Laredo survey finds that a majority in Mexico now express a favorable view of the United States and only a minority say that US-Mexico relations are worsening.

In the United States, President Trump is still pushing for an expanded border wall between the United States and Mexico, but a recent Chicago Council survey finds that Americans are more positive toward Mexico now than they have been since 2002. These developments may signal a window for rebuilding bilateral relations, especially if both governments ratify the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Key Findings

  • A majority in Mexico (56%) have a favorable view of the United States, reversing the all-time low (30%) recorded in 2017.
  • American views of Mexico continue to warm, reaching an average of 58 on a scale from 0 to 100, up notably from 2013’s average of 43.
  • Despite warming views, few Mexicans (13%) say US-Mexico relations are improving; instead, a majority (60%) say relations are staying about the same.
  • Surveyed before the new trade agreement was reached, Americans (63%) and Mexicans (78%) both think NAFTA is good for their countries’ economy. The Council’s January 2019 survey found that seven in ten Americans (70%) think the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement will be good for the US economy.

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