March 4, 2019 / 5:44 PM / 17 days ago

Mexico president's approval rating at 78 percent after three months - poll

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures during his daily news conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico February 15, 2019. Picture taken February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s approval rating stands at 78 percent, an opinion poll showed on Monday, adding to evidence that the veteran leftist has started his term with a strong popular mandate.

The figure in newspaper El Financiero was down from the 86 percent rating published in a poll on Feb. 7. But it was a percentage point higher than the newspaper’s first gauge of his popularity after assuming the presidency on Dec. 1.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, won election by a landslide last July, pledging to end corruption, reduce violence, fight inequality and boost economic growth.

Since taking office, he has launched a crackdown on rampant fuel theft, rolled out welfare programs and vowed to inject $3.9 billion into ailing state oil company Pemex.

However, a number of forecasters recently cut their Mexican growth projections for 2019, after economic expansion slowed to 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook for Mexico to negative from stable on Friday, citing concerns of sluggish growth and mounting liabilities.

The El Financiero survey, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, was based on a poll of 1,000 people between Feb. 22 and 25, conducted at homes and by phone.

A survey published on Feb. 28 by polling firm Consulta Mitofsky showed Lopez Obrador’s approval rating at 67.1 percent, up from 62.7 percent in a previous poll.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Susan Thomas

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