September 6, 2011

Crime and Drug Cartels Top Concerns in Mexico

45%

Less than half of Mexicans believe their government has been making progress in its years-long battle with the country’s drug cartels.

As the death toll continues to rise in Mexico’s drug war — 35,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006 — fewer than half (45%) of Mexicans say their government is making progress in its campaign against drug cartels; 29% say the government is losing ground and 25% say things are about the same as they have been in the past. Still, a survey conducted March 22 – April 7 by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found that an overwhelming majority (83%) continues to endorse the use of the Mexican army to fight drug traffickers, virtually unchanged from recent years. Moreover, many welcome U.S. help in training Mexican police and military personnel (74%) and providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military forces (64%). And while Mexicans broadly oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to combat drug traffickers in Mexico (38% support, 57% oppose), more now support this strategy than did so in 2010, when only about a quarter (26%) favored the deployment of U.S. troops in their country and two-thirds opposed it.

When asked who is most to blame for the drug violence in their country, more now say both Mexico and the U.S. are to blame than said so in recent surveys. About six-in-ten (61%) Mexicans blame both nations; 51% held this view in 2009 and 2010. Currently, 18% say the U.S. is mostly to blame and about the same percentage (16%) blame Mexico; a year ago, nearly twice as many said the U.S. was mostly to blame as named Mexico (27% vs. 14%). Read More