The reality of Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is not what he sees and perceives. He lives in a bubble, a pink world increasingly distant from people, complicated and violent for those who think differently. On the eve of his Second Government Report, he disqualified polls that placed him at approval levels below 60 percent. “I have my survey,” he said, “70 percent, 65, 64 approved.” Phrases on the air to hide the contrasts. On September 1, for example, the newspaper EL FINANCIERO published that its approval was at 59 percent, a full number, which weakened when disaggregated.
A large percentage of people were disappointed by the video of Pío López Obrador receiving money. 50 percent considered that the fight against corruption was not going well (against 27 percent who applauded it); their honesty was on the decline (from 61 percent positive responses in March to 49 percent in August); 61 percent believed that he was mismanaging the economy (only 19 percent approved); Fifty-nine percent rated security policy poorly, and in half were those who thought anti-corruption investigations were impartial or politically motivated.
That survey already recorded the leak of the ex-director of Pemex’s denouncement, Emilio Lozoya, where he made a massive shower of accusations that helped López Obrador’s speech, whose positive impact on public opinion helped him neutralize his brother’s video receiving cash. Lozoya had to disappear from the narrative due to the irruption of his brother’s corruption. This week, he returned to corruption as the axis of his messages when requesting the widespread consultation for former presidents. It coincided with the new GEA-ISA survey, published and conducted in housing before its prosecution.
His approval was 45 percent, against 47 percent disapproval, maintaining rejection levels higher than support, as recorded since March. Much has to do with economic reasons. 40 percent said their financial situation is worse than a year ago, and 35 percent said their families are worse.
The approval of López Obrador, compared to the annual variation of GDP, is the worst that any president of Mexico had had since the approval was measured, in the 90s, and almost 30 points worse than the lowest historical level of Felipe Calderón, in 2009, when the global financial crisis swept him away.
But if the economy’s assessment is bad, the perception of how the Covid-19 emergency has been handled is worse. 60 percent of those surveyed rejected the way they have dealt with it, and 43 percent think that the health authorities lost control of the pandemic. Regarding how the support to health institutions has been to supply them with equipment and materials, 68 percent responded insufficiently.
GEA-ISA reconfirms what other opinion studies previously showed: most Mexicans do not believe in López Obrador’s intentions in the Lozoya case. The EL FINANCIERO survey 15 days ago showed that 46 percent thought that anti-corruption investigations were politically motivated. In the GEA-ISA survey, 46 percent considered that what they seek is to discredit their opponents to win next year’s elections.
This new study also shows the discretion with which the President’s actions are perceived: 72 percent of those surveyed said that the money his brother received was an act of corruption, and 48 percent (against 33 percent), estimated that the treatment given to him is different from that of the PAN accused of bribery.
The presidential approval polls released in September prove that the shield that López Obrador had no longer exists, and that sustaining it on his binary narrative and his charisma has less and less effective.
His efforts to promote Morena with his sayings in next year’s federal elections are beginning to have diminishing returns, as evidenced by GEA-ISA, which in the intention to vote for federal deputies, registered 22 percent of support for the party in power, only five points above the PRI and eight points ahead of the PAN. These numbers are far from conclusive, not only because of the time until the elections next July, but because 40 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided. However, the national mood is changing.
All the polls that do not fit the perception that López Obrador has of himself, he says they are “spooned,” the colloquialism he uses to disqualify them, and he loves to compare himself with his counterparts in the world. On this occasion, denying the polling houses’ data, he has said that he is the second-best evaluated President in the world. Who knows which poll he was referring to, because he never revealed the source, but it’s likely true because his approval rating was so high that a downgrade leaves him in good stead anyway. He did not say that he is one of the leaders who have lost the most support this year in the world.
The President fights or litigates against his mirrors all the time, often identifying them as media outlets that, as most have done since the 1980s, treat the President critically and put the government in the accountability box. In others, López Obrador speaks abstractly, the “conservatives” and the “neoliberals,” ghosts that he has built to avoid talking about realities, such as his management in economics, control of the pandemic, or in reducing insecurity.
Every day AMLO is farther away from reality. Every day the magic he had fades more.
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