Mexico City (CNSNews.com) – Americans’ views of Mexico are the most favorable seen in a decade – although the differences between Republicans and Democrats are stark.
Polling by Gallup has found that “nearly two-thirds” of Americans now view Mexico favorably – up from a “near record” low of 45 percent in 2011 – and the most favorable seen in “over a decade.”
Sixty-four percent of Americans said they had “very” or “mostly” favorable views of Mexico, according to a Gallup poll taken last month.
While positive views of Mexico were even higher during the administration of President George W. Bush, according to the polling firm Americans today are more sharply divided than ever along party lines when asked about their perceptions of their southern neighbor.
According to Gallup, 83 percent of Democrats report having “very” or “mostly favorable” perceptions of Mexico, compared to 46 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of independents.
Gallup called the opinion divide along party lines of “little surprise … given the campaign promises that led to [President Donald] Trump’s win.”
“It’s clear that Democrats have a better opinion of Mexico than do Republicans,” Jorge Buendia, director of the Mexico City public opinion research firm Buendia y Laredo, told CNSNews.com.
“This is similar to ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’” he commented.
South of the border, Mexicans’ view of their country’s relationship with the U.S. has shifted 180 degrees between 2015 and today, according to another survey.
Forty-nine percent of Mexicans say they have a “bad” or “very bad” view of the relationship, according to data released by the Mexico City polling firm Parametria.
In 2015, by contrast, 49 percent of Mexicans said they had a “very good” or “good” opinion of relations between the neighboring countries.
Mexican public opinion about relations with the U.S. began to shift during the Trump campaign, according to Francisco Abundis, Parametria’s founder.
He called the magnitude of the shift in opinion “very notable,” but said the dim view Mexicans’ have of their country’s relations with the U.S. doesn’t extend to their opinions of Americans.
“I believe the people aren’t judging the Americans in general. Clearly it is a problem of this administration.”
“Mexicans are aware that Americans are very divided over Trump and that his policies are rejected by some Americans,” Abundis said.
Parametria’s survey also found that 62 percent of Mexicans want their president to defend Mexico’s interests when dealing with Trump, even if it means “confronting” the American president.
Only 34 percent said they support negotiating Mexico’s interests with the U.S.
The survey results, Abundis said, reflect public pressure on President Enrique Peña Ñieto to be “clear” in his dealings with the American president.
The survey of 1,200 Mexicans by Parametria taken in January also found a majority of Mexicans (55 percent) now favor closer ties with countries in Latin America rather than with the U.S. – a finding Abundis described as “historic.”
Only 32 percent of Mexicans said Mexico should maintain close ties with the U.S.
In surveys taken from 2002 to 2014, the polling firm has consistently found that a majority of Mexicans wanted to see closer ties with the US.
While migration remains the “most important” concern for the Mexicans surveyed last month, concerns about trade moved to second place, outpacing concerns about crime for the first time since 2015, Parametria found.
The polling firm’s recent report attributed the increased concerns about trade to Trump’s criticism of the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and his call for a renegotiation of the NAFTA free trade pact.
Buendia of Buendia y Laredo said a U.S. president who dedicates “so much attention and criticism” towards Mexico is “something new.”
Eighty-five percent of Mexicans have a negative opinion of Trump, he said, but added that the Mexican people “have a better opinion of the U.S. itself.”