Study: Mexicans Favor U.S. Military Presence in Mexico

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WASHINGTON -- As the death toll continues to rise in Mexico’s drug war, now claiming more than 35,000 lives since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006, fewer than half (45 percent) of Mexicans say their government is making progress in its campaign against drug cartels; 29 percent say the government is losing ground and 25 percent say things are about the same as they have been in the past.

Still, an overwhelming majority (83 percent) continues to endorse the use of the Mexican army to fight drug traffickers, virtually unchanged in recent years. Moreover, many welcome U.S. help in training Mexican police and military personnel (74 percent) and providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military forces (64 percent).

And while Mexicans broadly oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to combat drug traffickers in Mexico (38 percent support and 57 percent oppose), more now support this strategy than did so in 2010, when only about a quarter (26 percent) favored the deployment of U.S. troops in their country and two-thirds opposed it.

The survey of Mexico conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project between March 22 and April 7 also finds that illegal drugs and cartel-related violence rank among the top national problems facing Mexico; 71 percent say illegal drugs are a very big problem in their country and even more (77 percent) see the violence associated with drug cartels as a major challenge.

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