Politics

Just five percent of Mexicans express confidence in Trump, poll says

President Donald Trump arrived in Fort Myers, Fla., on Thursday.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump arrived in Fort Myers, Fla., on Thursday.

MEXICO CITY — Maybe it should come as no surprise, after months of President Donald Trump’s talk about walling off Mexico, crumpling up the NAFTA trade deal and evicting immigrants, that Mexicans aren’t looking too kindly on the United States or its leader these days.

A new Pew Research Center survey confirms those suspicions. The Mexican public opinion poll shows gloomy views all around, from Mexicans’ thoughts about the United States (65 percent are unfavorable), their image of Trump (93 percent have no confidence in him) and their sense of their own country’s direction (85 percent are dissatisfied).

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These views are sharply different from sentiments expressed during the Obama administration. The 65 percent of Mexicans who view the U.S. negatively is up from 29 percent who felt that way two years ago.

This information was gathered in March and April as part of the Pew global attitudes survey published in June, which reported a big swing in negative Mexican opinions about the United States and sharp disapproval of the border wall. Many of the Mexico-specific results have not been released before, however.

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The most dire opinions are reserved for Trump. Just 5 percent of Mexicans express confidence in the U.S. president, compared with 49 percent who were confident about Obama in 2015.

Since the beginning of Trump’s campaign for president, Mexico has been a frequent target. Trump has blamed illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America for many U.S. problems, from lost jobs to crime. He has called NAFTA the worst trade deal in history. And he continues to push for funding for a border wall while insisting that Mexico will pay for it.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has wrestled with how to respond to Trump, but in general, the government has sought a polite diplomatic tone and pushed to preserve close ties with the U.S.

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That approach may not be helping Peña Nieto. The Pew survey found that the Mexican leader’s popularity stood at 28 percent, the lowest since Pew began asking about him in 2011, before he was president. Mexican polls have put his approval rating even lower.

Respondents identified the economy, corruption and drug-related violence as the top three reasons Mexicans have lost faith in their president, with Peña Nieto’s handling of U.S.-Mexico relations coming in after that.

Some Mexican commentators have grown increasingly frustrated with the country being Trump’s punching bag, and think that growing animosity among Mexicans may force Mexican politicians to fight back against the U.S. more forcefully.

This has implications in next year’s presidential election in Mexico - where leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a front-runner - to future cooperation on migration, the drug war and a host of other issues.

As Guajardo wrote, Mexicans ‘‘would rather wrap ourselves in the flag and jump to our deaths than be humiliated.’’

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