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

RESEARCH Public Opinion Survey by Esteban Guzmán Saucedo, Dina Smeltz, and Craig Kafura
Flag of Mexico.
Christian Frausto Bernal/Flickr

This Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey finds that a majority in Mexico now express a favorable view of the United States.

Introduction

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.

Key Findings

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.

  • 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.

US Methodology

This report’s analysis of country thermometer readings and support for the USMCA are based on data from interviews conducted January 11 -13, 2019 by Ipsos Public Affairs using their large-scale, nationwide online probability panel, the KnowledgePanel OmniWeb. A total of 1,019 interviews were completed among a weighted national sample of adults 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error on weighted data is ±3 percentage points for the full sample. Additional results come from the 2018 Chicago Council Survey of the American public on foreign policy, a project of the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. The 2018 Chicago Council Survey was conducted by GfK Custom Research using their large-scale, nationwide online research panel July 12-31, 2018 among a weighted national sample of 2,046 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is ±2.37, including a design effect of 1.1954. For both surveys, partisan identification is based on respondents’ answer to a standard partisan self-identification question: “Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?”

The 2018 Chicago Council Survey was made possible by the generous support of the Crown family, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the US-Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Mexico Methodology

Results reported from Mexico are based on data collected by Buendía & Laredo. The nationwide face-to-face survey was conducted from August 17 to August 23, 2018, among a weighted national sample of Mexican adults, 18 years of age or older, who reside in housing units within the national territory. Assuming a design effect (deff) of 1.3, the sampling margin of error of the survey is ±3.53 percentage points. 

About the Authors
Esteban Guzmán Saucedo
Survey Research Director, Buendía & Laredo
Survey Research Director, Buendía & Laredo
Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Headshot for Dina Smeltz
Dina Smeltz, a polling expert, has more than 25 years of experience designing and fielding international social and political surveys. Prior to joining the Council to lead its annual survey of American attitudes on US foreign policy, she served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department's Office of Research from 1992 to 2008.
Headshot for Dina Smeltz
Assistant Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Council expert Craig Kafura
Craig Kafura is the assistant director for public opinion and foreign policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, and a Pacific Forum Young Leader. At the Council, he coordinates work on public opinion and foreign policy and is a regular contributor to the public opinion and foreign policy blog Running Numbers.
Council expert Craig Kafura