Mexico Institute, 5/29/2012
by Eric L. Olson and Diana Murray Watts
With just a few weeks left until election day, ideas about what Mexicans want in their next president are beginning to crystalize. According to a recent public opinion survey the majority want their next president to be “strong, self-confident, organized and far-sighted.”
A total of 803 people participated in De la Riva Group’s “Mexicans’ 2012 Expectations” survey. According to the results, eighty percent of respondents viewed a presidential candidate’s political “experience” as the most important qualification for ensuring good government, while twenty percent felt that a candidate’s education level was important. Fifty-six percent of respondents would prefer that the next president “understands the people well.” Forty-four percent thought the next president should be “cultured and well-educated.”
The responses vary by age groups and gender. For instance, while young Mexicans seek a presidential leader who is “prepared, supportive and able to solve problems quickly,” those 45 and older prefer a president with “a lot of experience and who analyzes problems in-depth.” In terms of gender, women want a government that is “strong and honest and that has control over public security,” while men expect a government that is “effective and that strengthens the economy for workers.”
Participants’ socioeconomic status also influenced their views. Lower-income respondents prefer an “effective government” that strengthens the economic well-being of families. In contrast, respondents from higher socioeconomic strata prefer an “honest” government that focuses on security and uses “ a heavy hand against criminals.”
The economy and security were the two priority issues for the studies participants. A total of Forty-four percent would like more economic stability while Forty-one percent would prefer to have better security on the streets. These figures confirm that both the economy and the security crisis occupy primary concerns for Mexicans.
The survey affirms other polling data and expert analysis that Mexicans are most worried about the economic and security situation in Mexico, and will support the candidate they believe most represents these aforementioned characteristics. So far, the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto appears to have benefitted most (by a double digit margin) from these voter concerns, followed by the PRD’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the PAN’s Josefina Vázquez Mota closely competing for second-place.