Drugs and Violence in Mexico Public Policy vs. Public Opinion

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Hills Program on Governance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies cosponsored the presentation of a national survey of Mexican public opinion at an event titled “Drugs and Violence in Mexico: Public Policy vs. Public Opinion”.

The survey was conducted by the Center for the Study of Institutional Governance (CEGI) at the IPADE Business School, the Colectivo de Analisis de la Seguridad Con Democracia (CASEDE) and the Sistemas de Inteligencia en Mercados y Opinión (SIMO).

The survey was national in scope and included respondents from both the most violent states in Northern Mexico as well as citizens from its safer regions. The surveyed states are governed by  all three major parties, thus adding the impact of political ideology to the survey’s results. The survey intended to measure the impact of the Drug War’s violence on Mexican society and the attitudes of Mexican citizens towards their government, public policy and even the upcoming elections.

A few outcomes from the survey suggest that:

  • Regardless of region, political party or level of violence, most Mexicans across the country perceive the current “drug war” strategy to be a losing battle.
  • Despite a general negative opinion of the war on drugs strategy, Mexicans that live in more violent states are most likely to support a war-like effort against organized crime as well as most likely to vote for a staunch anti-narco candidate.
  • Mexicans in safer areas of the country, such as the capital, are less likely to support the current war on drugs strategy and are most likely to vote for a presidential candidate with a different drug policy.
  • Mexicans across the country generally perceive certain institutions to be untrustworthy and weak. There is overwhelming distrust of two institutions: political parties and local police. On the other hand, institutions such as the Armed Forces and the Federal Police receive a higher level of trust from the population.

Ultimately, the survey’s results demonstrate the detrimental impact of the insecurity and violence of the drug war on Mexican society and their perception of their own political and governmental institutions. The attitudes and perceptions of Mexicans as demonstrated in the survey will be crucial to the outcome of the presidential election this summer.

To learn more about this important survey and to view the video of the presentation, please follow this link to CSIS’s website.

The presentations used by the various organizations involved may be directly accessed here:

  • View the presentation by CIDENA
  • View the presentation by IPADE
  • View the presentation by CASEDE

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