May 26, 2006

Zogby: Mexico’s Fox Builds Legacy

Mexican President Vicente Fox’s solid performance may pave the way for his PAN party to retain its hold on the presidency, according to a new University of Miami School of Communication/Zogby International survey six weeks before election

President Fox, a breakthrough candidate when he won the nation’s highest office six years ago, has shored up the political foundation of his PAN party and may be setting the stage to hand off leadership to a fellow conservative in the July 2 election, a new University of Miami School of Communication/Zogby International poll shows.

Felipe Calderon of PAN leads two left-leaning competitors - Roberto Madrazo of the PRI party, which ruled for more than 70 years before Fox broke their grip on power in 2000, and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD party - in the race for President, according to the new survey. Other candidates lag far behind. Twelve percent said they were undecided.

Fox has a positive job approval rating from 43% of Mexicans likely to vote in the July election. While that is not as high as it could be, it provides a solid base on which his party’s successor can run in a race with three strong candidates, said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International.

“What we see here is that Mexican voters, judging how Fox has handled key issues, have given him negative ratings on such things as combating poverty and fighting corruption. But on improving education, he’s solid. On improving health care, he’s solid. On improving opportunities for women, he’s solid. He gets acceptable, passable ratings, enough to suggest that he isn’t a drag on Calderon,” Zogby said. “Thirty-five percent said that someone from Fox’s party deserves to be elected President. That’s not a great number, but in a competitive three-way race, that’s a solid base.”

Women give Fox more credit for doing good work as President than do men - 48% of women give him a positive job rating, compared to just 40% of men. Predictably, 64% of those who said they are better off than they were when Fox took office six years ago say he is doing a good job. Just 23% of those who say they are worse off than six years ago give Fox a positive job approval rating.

The University of Miami School of Communication/Zogby International survey shows that more people than not (32% compared to 24%) feel that their personal financial situation is better today than it was six years ago, and the poll oozes with optimism for the future: there are five people who think their financial situation will be better in six years for every one person who thinks their situation will be worse. Fifty-five percent said they are making enough money to get by without any great difficulties.

Asked about security and crime, Mexicans are upbeat, the survey shows - 55% said they feel only a little fear or no threat at all over local crime and violence.

Just 38% give Fox positive marks for effectively negotiating with foreign nations, including the United States. Tensions between the two countries has intensified in recent weeks as President Bush and leaders in Congress push for stiffer measures to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border into the U.S.

“The School of Communication here at the University of Miami has established several programs with a focus on Latin America,” said Dean Sam L Grogg. “We view our collaboration with Zogby International on this research as an extension of the important work of our faculty to address the profound role that the Southern Hemisphere will play in the global future.”

The University of Miami School of Communication/Zogby International survey was conducted May 6-9, 2006, and included 999 face-to-face interviews with likely voters nationwide in Mexico. It carries a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.


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