July 1, 2019 / 3:58 PM / 18 days ago

One year from election, Mexicans give government poor marks on key issues - poll

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A year since his election, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador enjoys the backing of nearly two-thirds of the electorate, but scepticism about his government’s handling of major issues is widespread, a poll showed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

A phone survey of 820 Mexicans in June by newspaper El Financiero showed Lopez Obrador’s approval rating at 66%, down 1 percentage point from May, and 17 points from a peak of 83% in February. The poll had a margin of error of +/-3.4%.

However, when asked about how the government was doing on education, health, security, the economy, corruption and poverty, respondents were all more negative than positive.

Lopez Obrador won a landslide victory on July 1, 2018 after promising to root out public sector corruption, reduce surging violence and inject new life into a sluggish economy. Later on Monday, he is due to deliver a speech in Mexico’s City’s giant Zocalo square to mark the anniversary of the election.

So far his results in office have fallen short of high expectations, the poll showed, and his administration has been overshadowed by threats of a trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to impose tariffs on Mexico if it does not curb illegal immigration.

On education, 32% rated the government’s performance as positive versus 41% who saw it negatively; on health, 26% were positive against 50% negative; on public security, 26% were positive versus 55% negative, on the economy, 23% were positive compared to 54% negative, and on corruption, 19% were positive in contrast to 64% negative.

Only 16% gave the government a positive rating on how it was handling poverty. Some 66% took the opposite view.

“What the survey tells you is that while the president has got broad support, the problems are still there,” said pollster Alejandro Moreno, who carried out the survey.

How much time voters would give the president to turn things around remained to be seen, he added.

Mexico’s economy contracted during the first quarter of 2019 and the murder tally is on track to surpass last year’s record total of almost 29,000, according to official data.

Lopez Obrador, who says he has ended high-level government corruption in Mexico, on Sunday admitted he had so far failed to improve security as he launched a new militarised police force.

A separate tracking poll on Monday by polling firm Mitofsky showed that a slide in Lopez Obrador’s popularity since he cut a deal with Trump on June 7 to tighten border security had continued, with his approval rating dipping to 60.8%.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Alistair Bell

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