MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s job approval rating fell to 17 percent last quarter, the lowest of his mandate, in reaction to the hike in fuel prices ordered by his government in January and despite his call for unity in the face of the threat posed by US President Donald Trump and his policy proposals.
Peña Nieto “is at the lowest levels” of popularity since measurements of that kind were begun due to the public’s “accumulated anger” aggravated by the gasoline price hike, Roy Campos, the president of Grupo Mitofsky, the consulting firm that conducted the latest survey on the matter, told EFE.
A quarterly survey by Mitofsky released on Tuesday revealed that the president has an approval rating of just 17 percent and a disapproval rating of 77 percent, the lowest popularity level of his 2012-2018 term so far.
The decline over the past two years in popularity for Peña Nieto, who had an approval rating of 42 percent in November 2013, according to the Mexican daily El Universal, can be explained by the decisions he has taken in office, including supporting gay marriage, Campos said.
That initiative, presented in May 2016, cost Peña Nieto in two different ways: causing his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to “lost some elections” and “conservative groups to get angry with him.”
Campos said it would be difficult for the president to be able to end his term in office with good survey numbers because there is little time for him to engineer a recovery and soon the election campaign for his successor, culminating in the July 2018 election, will get under way.
He could, however – Campos said – improve his standing if he “decides to do two things well: lead a true anti-corruption fight and (defend Mexico) against Trump’s measures.”
Trump is seeking to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to halt illegal immigration, has threatened to cut off remittances back to Mexico by its citizens living in the US and intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.
The survey was conducted among 3,000 adults during December, January and February and has an error margin of 1.8 percent.