Ahead of President Obama’s trip to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña-Nieto on Thursday, public opinion of the United States is on the rise in the Mexico.
According to new findings from the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, the U.S. is enjoying a resurgence of goodwill among the Mexican public. The study, which was a national opinion survey of Mexico, says that two-thirds of Mexicans have a favorable view of the United States. That number is up from 56 percent a year ago in 2012.
One of the factors behind the rise in esteem may be a push toward immigration policy reform. Back in 2010 when Arizona’s restrictive immigration SB 1070 law passed, favorable attitudes toward the United States slipped to just 44 percent.
But perhaps one of the most striking findings of the poll was that the majority of Mexicans would not move to the United States if they had the chance. Six in ten Mexicans say they would not move to the U.S. even if they had the means and opportunity to do so. Still, a large minority of 35 percent would move, including 20 percent who would do so without authorization.
The general view of the United States wasn’t the only image on the rise. President Obama also received higher approval ratings from Mexicans than he has in recent years. Approximately half, or 49 percent, of Mexicans are confident that he would do the right thing when it comes to world affairs. Although President Obama’s rating has yet to return to the 55 percent high it was at during his first few days in office, the number is on the rise from 38 percent in 2011 and 42 percent in 2012.
When the president heads to Mexico later this week, deepening economic and commercial relations between the United States and Mexico will likely be key items on the agenda. When it comes to key interests like these, Mexicans also believe that the United States takes their country’s interests into account when deciding international policy. An estimated 51 percent say Washington considers their country’s interests while 45 percent say that it does not. While the margin of Mexicans who think positively of the United States in this respect is narrow, it represents a major shift from 2012. Opinion leaned in the opposite direction then, with 56 percent saying the U.S. did not consider Mexico’s interests.