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Fewer Than Half of Mexicans See Progress in Drug War, 29% Think Govt. is Loosing Ground

Fewer Than Half of Mexicans See Progress in Drug War, 29% Think Govt. is Loosing Ground

Photo: Crime in Mexico

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As the death toll continues to rise in Mexico’s drug war, a new survey by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project finds that fewer than half (45%) of Mexicans say their government is making progress in its campaign against drug cartels; 29% say the government is losing ground and 25% say things are about the same as they have been in the past. 

Still, an overwhelming majority (83%) continues to endorse the use of the Mexican army to fight drug traffickers, virtually unchanged in recent years. Moreover, many welcome U.S. help in training Mexican police and military personnel and providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military forces. 

And while Mexicans broadly oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to combat drug traffickers in Mexico (38% support and 57% oppose), more now support this strategy than did so in 2010, when only about a quarter favored the deployment of U.S. troops in their country and two-thirds opposed it.

When asked who is most to blame for the drug violence in their country, more now say both Mexico and the U.S. are to blame than did so in recent surveys. About six-in-ten (61%) Mexicans blame both nations; 51% held this view in 2009 and 2010. Currently, 18% say the U.S. is mostly to blame and about the same percentage (16%) blame Mexico; a year ago, nearly twice as many said the U.S. was mostly to blame as named Mexico (27% vs. 14%).

The survey of Mexico, conducted between March 22 and April 7, also finds:

U.S. Image: The image of the U.S. has rebounded somewhat since the passage of Arizona’s controversial immigration bill in April 2010, but it remains far more negative than it was prior to the law’s enactment.  Currently, a slim majority (52%) of Mexicans hold a favorable view of the U.S., while 41% express a negative opinion. 

Views of Life in the United States: Fewer than half (44%) of Mexicans now say people from their country who move to the U.S. have a better life than those who stay in Mexico. In 2009, nearly six-in-ten (57%) said this was the case. Most Mexicans (61%) say they would not move to the U.S. if they had the means and opportunity to do so, which is similar to 2009 findings.

Biggest Problems Facing the Country: Mexicans most frequently name crime (80%) and cartel-related violence (77%) as very big problems. Roughly seven-in-ten (71%) see illegal drugs in the same light. Most (69%) also describe economic problems as a major challenge. Slightly smaller numbers place corruption (65%) and terrorism (62%) in this category. Just half say people leaving the country for jobs elsewhere is a major issue.

Views of President Calderón and the National Governmen
t: Most Mexicans continue to say that President Calderón and the national government are having a positive impact on the country. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) say the president’s influence is good, while 54% give the national government a positive rating. Compared with two years ago, however, views of Calderón and the government have become increasingly negative.

The report, “Crime and Drug Cartels top Concerns in Mexico,” can be accessed on the Pew Research Center’s Pew Global Attitudes Project website.