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Mexico President Peña Nieto's popularity falls at home: survey

MexicoEconomyEnrique Pena Nieto
Economic reforms costing Mexican President Peña Nieto support at home, Pew Research Center survey shows
Pew Research Center survey shows 60% of respondents disapprove of how Mexico's president is handling economy

In contrast to the glowing reviews he often receives abroad, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ratings at home have declined, a new survey finds.

The Pew Research Center, in a report released Tuesday that examines public opinion in Mexico, said Peña Nieto’s ambitious economic reforms have cost him support.

“[D]omestically his positive image is faltering and a key component of his political agenda -- economic reform -- is decidedly unpopular,” states the report, which is based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews from April 21 to May 2 this year.

Negative views of the president grew by 9 percentage points to 47% in the last year, the survey found. Overall, Mexicans are almost evenly divided: 51% say the president’s influence is “good,” 47% “bad.”

Especially telling, disapproval of his handling of the economy climbed from 46% last year to 60% now, Pew said.

Peña Nieto came to office nearly two years ago promising robust economic growth. But his government has been forced to repeatedly roll back projected growth figures as the economy staggered along.

He now says the economy will take off once a package of energy industry reforms is enacted. Those controversial reforms will open Mexico’s oil, gas and electricity sectors to private and foreign investment for the first time in more than seven decades.

And while that delights potential investors, it does not sit so well with the Mexican public. A majority of those surveyed -- 57% -- said they opposed allowing foreign investment in the state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, according to Pew.

Peña Nieto, currently on a two-day visit to California, was greeted in Los Angeles by a small group of protesters opposing the energy measures. He did not address them. 

And, in a dynamic familiar to U.S. citizens, Pew found that while Peña Nieto’s favorables may be slipping, the Mexican Congress is held in even lower esteem.

For more news out of Mexico and Latin America, follow @TracyKWilkinson

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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