September 14, 2017

Mexican Views of the U.S. Turn Sharply Negative

2. Mexicans are downbeat about their country’s direction

Mexicans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in their country is at its lowest since 2007. Only 13% of Mexicans are satisfied with the way things are going, compared with 85% who report being dissatisfied. This is a marked deterioration since 2015, when 27% were satisfied and 72% dissatisfied.

Mexicans’ attitudes about the way things are going in the country align with their views of the national economy. Today, seven-in-ten Mexicans view their country’s current economic situation as bad – including 35% who say the national economy is very bad, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2012.

Views of the economy are particularly sour among supporters of opposition parties in Mexico. Roughly eight-in-ten Mexicans who identify with leftist parties PRD or MORENA (78%) say Mexico’s economic situation is bad, and 68% of those who identify with right-of-center opposition party PAN view the economy negatively.

In contrast, 54% of those who identify with President Peña Nieto’s party, PRI, say the economic situation is bad, while 44% say it is good.

Similarly, majorities in all regions of the country rate the economy negatively, but Mexicans who live less than 200 miles from the U.S. border are slightly more positive about the current economy (58% say it is bad) than those who live in the central and southern parts of the country (72%).

Growing sense that corruption is a major problem

In 2017, crime, political corruption, drug cartel-related violence and rising prices are the top concerns for Mexicans. More than seven-in-ten also view corrupt police officers and a lack of employment opportunities as very big problems. Concerns have risen since 2015 for nine of 12 issues tested. The shares of Mexicans who named corrupt political leaders, cartel-related violence, the gap between rich and poor, crime and traffic each rose by 10 points or more over the past two years.

Women and men tend to view problems similarly, though men are more concerned with corrupt leaders, while women are significantly more concerned with people leaving Mexico for jobs abroad and Central American immigrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S.

Compared with 18- to 29-year-olds, Mexicans ages 50 and older express more concern about corrupt political leaders, crime, rising prices, drug cartel-related violence and people leaving the country for jobs. For instance, about nine-in-ten (89%) of those 50 and older say corrupt leadership is a very big problem versus roughly three-quarters (76%) of those ages 18 to 29.

Mexicans ages 30 and older are becoming more nervous over time compared with their younger counterparts. Across seven of 12 issues tested, the share of Mexicans 30 and older expressing concern has grown more since 2015 than it has among younger Mexicans – and for two of those issues, Mexicans 50 and older had the largest increase in concern (people leaving the country for jobs elsewhere and immigrants traveling through Mexico from Central America to the U.S.).

Most notably, the share of Mexicans 30 to 49 years old who say corrupt leadership is a very big problem has risen 13 points in the past two years (to 86% in 2017) and 21 points among Mexicans 50 years and older (to 89%). Conversely, the proportion of young people concerned about corrupt leadership has remained at roughly three-quarters. Mexicans 30 and older have also become more concerned than their younger counterparts about crime, corrupt political leaders and violence related to drug cartels.