Survey: Facing Issues At Home, Mexicans View U.S. More Favorably


(CNN) -- One in three Mexicans would emigrate to the United States if they had the means -- a statistic reflecting crime and economic problems in Mexico and an improved image of America, according to a survey published Wednesday.

The poll of 1,000 Mexican adults conducted in May and June was part of the larger international survey by The Pew Global Attitudes Project, a part of the nonpartisan, non-advocacy Pew Research Center. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percent.

The survey results indicate that Mexicans believe that life north of the border is better than in Mexico, based on their perceptions and stories they hear from those they know who have emigrated.

Some 33 percent of Mexicans said they would move to the United States if they could; 18 percent would go even if it meant entering the country illegally, the survey said.

"Facing a variety of national problems -- crime, drugs, corruption, a troubled economy -- Mexicans overwhelmingly are dissatisfied with the direction of their country," the survey report concluded.

Still, more than six in 10 of those surveyed said that they expected Mexico's economy to improve within the next year.

A large majority of respondents -- 81 percent -- identified crime as the biggest problem facing the country. Illegal drugs, the product behind the escalating drug cartel violence affecting many parts of the country, was identified by 73 percent of respondents as a major problem. About 5,300 people have been killed in drug-related violence in 2009 to date, according to Mexico's El Universal newspaper.

President Felipe Calderon has made fighting the cartels a priority for his administration, deploying more than 45,000 soldiers to fortify local police departments that have found themselves out-powered and sometimes corrupted by the drug traffickers.

The Pew report found that an overwhelming number of Mexicans -- 83 percent -- support Calderon's show of force against the cartels. Sixty-six percent of respondents said the army is making progress against the traffickers, while 15 percent said the traffickers were winning, the survey said.

These results are higher than what national polls in Mexico usually find.

For instance, a poll of 1,500 people by the Reforma newspaper in August found that only 50 percent of the country thought that Calderon was doing a favorable job of fighting the drug cartels, which marked an 8 percent increase from three months prior. The poll had a margin of error of 2.5 percent.

Like in many other countries surveyed by The Pew Global Attitudes Project, Mexicans had a improved image of the United States, and had more favorable views of President Barack Obama compared to President George W. Bush.

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