AMLO makes a show of popularity against world leaders

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday showed off his popularity in comparison to other world leaders, saying the media did not want the public to know how much support he enjoys.

Asked during a regular news conference how confident he was heading into 2021, when Mexico holds legislative elections in June, Lopez Obrador said he was optimistic. Then he asked aides to project an ongoing survey of 13 world leaders’ approval ratings.

“It’s not to show off,” he said. “In the understanding that to me, power is humility, but at the same time, it’s not bad for people to know,” he added, arguing that most of Mexico’s leading print and broadcast media did not want to publicize the poll.

The Global Leader Approval Rating Tracker by data firm Morning Consult showed Lopez Obrador placing second to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in terms of net approval rating, or the sum of positive opinions versus negative ones.

As of Dec. 22, Lopez Obrador scored 29, just ahead of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had 27.

The Mexican president then guided viewers through direct comparisons between himself and some of the other heads of government in the survey, which showed Modi way out front with 55. French President Emmanuel Macron was last at minus 25.

An astute communicator, the leftist Lopez Obrador won election by a landslide in 2018. Since then, his popularity has remained robust, even though he has fallen short of the goals he set on improving security and economic growth.

He has cultivated an antagonistic relationship with much of the media, accusing them of being sympathetic to his critics and “neoliberal” economic policies he blames for Mexico’s problems.

Earlier this week, he pretended he was going to scrap the daily morning news conferences he uses to answer criticism before revealing 40 minutes later he was joking.