Mexicans' positive view of the U.S. collapses in Trump era: poll

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexicans’ positive image of the United States has fallen to its lowest level since at least 2002, with about two-thirds of people viewing the country led by President Donald Trump unfavorably, according to a poll released on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington D.C., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The U.S.-based Pew Research Center’s findings reveal a drastic about-face in Mexicans’ views of their northern neighbor. In 2015, 66 percent had a positive view of the United States. By 2017, 65 percent of people disapproved of the world’s top economy, Pew said.

Unsurprisingly, few Mexicans approve of Trump’s proposed border wall, with 94 percent of people opposing it. But Mexicans also fret about Trump’s international footprint.

“Only 5 percent have confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs, Trump’s lowest rating among 37 nations polled in 2017,” according to the poll.

The survey is also grim reading for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, his ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the rest of Mexico’s political class, less than a year before voters pick a new president in July.

Mexicans’ favorable view of Pena Nieto has steadily fallen since Pew began measuring it in 2011, dropping from 61 percent six years ago to his current level of 28 percent.

An often-large majority disapproves of how Pena Nieto has handled issues like the economy, graft, crime and U.S. relations, Pew said.

The PRI was the most unfavorably viewed of the parties polled by Pew, with the conservative National Action Party enjoying the most positive views, albeit with relatively high negative perceptions.

The leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), led by current presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, was the second most positively viewed party, and also the least badly perceived.

The vast majority - 85 percent - of Mexicans are unhappy with the way things are going in their country. Seventy percent of Mexicans believe the economy is going badly, with 35 percent saying the economy is going very badly.

Mexicans’ main concerns are crime, political graft and drug violence, Pew found. Anxieties over those three issues had all risen compared with the finding in 2015.

Although Mexicans harbor increasingly negative views of the United States, 55 percent said those that move north enjoy a better life, up from 2015. However, only 13 percent of people said they would live and work in the United States illegally, down from 20 percent in 2015.

The survey was based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews in Mexico between March 2 and April 17, with a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Jonathan Oatis