Mexican president’s popularity dips amid violence, recession

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador still draws crowds and has the support of the majority of the population, but his once stratospheric popularity appears to be coming back to Earth after more than a year in office.

At a weekend event in his native state of Tabasco, where the local and state governments are controlled by his Morena party, López Obrador chided crowd members who booed local officials.

It was a seldom seen public critique since López Obrador swept into office with 53% of the vote in 2018. It was a highest percentage of the vote won since 1982 and his popularity once in office had hovered around 85%. However, that popularity has steadily declined as violence and a stalled economy disappoint the citizenry.

Two polls conducted at the end of February, one by pollster Buendía and Laredo and another by the newspaper Reforma, put López Obrador’s job approval at 62% and 59%, respectively. The first surveyed 1,000 adults at the end of February and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The second interviewed 1,200 people and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 points.

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With the economy in recession, the imposition of austerity measures and strong criticism coming from violence victims, feminist collectives and leftist groups, López Obrador appears to be governing an increasingly polarized Mexican society.

“As for my popularity, we’re fine,” López Obrador said Monday in response to a reporter’s question. “We have a majority, the people are supporting us.” He blamed the loss of support on frustrated “conservatives.”

López Obrador has said he is willing to submit to a popular vote to boot him from office midway through his six-year term.

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