As Lopez Obrador has passed his first half-year in power, his popularity has already reduced by half. Mexico is experiencing the most violent year in its history along with the collapse of its public health system and a deteriorating economy. These three factors together have diminished the popularity of the president.
According to the National Survey by Mexico Elige published at the beginning of July, the Mexican president’s approval ratings reached 46.9% with a general rating of 44.6%. That is 5.1% less than what it was in June.
There is a remarkable difference compared to the first quarter of this year. In February, the same survey published AMLO’s approval rating at 73%.
The abrupt decline in AMLO’s popularity in June is mainly because the month was particularly bloody. In the first half of June alone, 650 murders were recorded between 6th and 12th June. Just on one day, Saturday 8th June, 113 deaths were reported and another 191 on Sunday.
Also in June, in Jalisco, the cradle of one of the most powerful narco-trafficking groups of Mexico, employees of the Intermunicipal System of Potable Water and Sewerage Services (Siapa) discovered 11 garbage bags with corpses. Jalisco reported 76 murders in the first half of June.
As a result, 60% of Mexicans believe that insecurity has worsened in the last seven months.
Reduced funds for public health has lessened the sympathy for the president
Although AMLO’s popularity was already declining, it fell by 10% in May due to a 44% reduction in the public health budget.
The budget cut left many doctors unemployed. German Martinez, the director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), resigned, saying, “I am not going to fire the doctors. People will die in the streets.”
This event was an indicator of the instability of AMLO’s administration where they could not even retain their own officials.
Now at least 10,000 hospital employees have been laid off, or their contracts have not been renewed, due to lack of funds, and AMLO’s popularity thus continues to decline.
Newborn and unborn babies are the most affected, particularly members of indigenous communities who live far from the city and have to walk for up to eight hours to reach the nearest hospital. The budget cut has left them without transportation or community centers at a short distance.
Further, the prevalence of crime in Mexico has resulted in many gunshot victims. Wounded patients receive emergency care in hospitals at the cost of newborn babies who have no hospital beds or personnel available.
48% of respondents in a survey conducted by consulting firm Motofsky believe that the financial situation has worsened. The economic condition will continue to deteriorate in the next few months as the GDP growth will continue to decline according to a survey by El Financiero. The media also warns that the country will slide into an economic recession, which will decrease employment and thus reduce the president’s popularity.
The resignation of officials diminishes AMLO’s popularity
The resignation of former Treasury Secretary Carlos Urzua reduced the hope of economic improvement. According to a poll published by Mitofsky on 10th July, 71% of respondents believe that Urzua resigned because of his disagreement with Lopez Obrador’s policies.
The common perception is that AMLO had the support of the majority of the voters: 53.17%. The figure misses the fact that when speaking of the majority, we are only talking about those who participated in the voting process. 36.58% abstained from going to the polls. So the president did not have the backing of that part of the population in the first place.
The support for the president will continue to decline if the economy, security, and healthcare do not improve.