Halfway through 2019 and seven months into his presidency, Andrés Manuel López is facing a contradictory situation. He maintains high approval levels on the strength of his immense personal popularity. In the latest quarterly GEA-ISA survey of registered voters based on interviews conducted in mid June, 7 out of 10 respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the president as a person, a figure that has not changed much since December. And despite all the negative news and economic indicators that point to a slowdown, voters remain positive about the economy, a perception for which we have also evidence from Inegi’s Consumer Confidence Index that has reported a significant surge in optimism so far this year.
But we are starting to see evidence that public support is fragile. Since the March survey, there has been a 10 percentage point drop in the share of the electorate that believes the country is on the right track, and a parallel 10 point surge in those saying it is headed in the wrong direction.
There has been a notable waning of public confidence in this administration’s problem solving abilities. And perhaps more importantly, more than a third of the population reports that they have been negatively affected by budget cuts, a percentage that now approaches the share of voters who say they have benefited from the programs the administration has begun to roll out. This shift is particularly pronounced in the key demographic of adults between 25 and 39, and in the central-western region of the country.
The public was generally more negative in its view of the agreement the government reached with the United States on migration. Among those who were aware of the agreement almost half believe that the interests of President Donald Trump won out as opposed to four in ten who feel that the dignity and sovereignty of Mexico prevailed. This despite the fact that when faced with the dilemma of a crackdown on migrants or a trade war a majority of those polled said they preferred the crackdown and only 24% a trade dispute.
Moreover, support for the governing Morena party has fallen by 7 points from a December peak of 38%.
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