Released: April 29, 2013
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Mexico, the United States is enjoying a resurgence of good will among the Mexican public, with a clear majority favorably inclined toward their northern neighbor and more now expressing confidence in Obama.
A national opinion survey of Mexico by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 4-17 among 1,000 adults, finds that roughly two-thirds (66%) of Mexicans have a favorable opinion of the U.S. – up from 56% a year ago and dramatically higher than it was following the passage of Arizona’s restrictive immigration law in 2010, when favorable Mexican attitudes toward the United States slipped to 44%.
Obama also receives higher ratings than he did in recent years. ... Mexicans are also now more of the view that the U.S. takes their country’s interests into account when deciding international policy.
Views on Immigration
More than 11 million Mexicans live in the U.S., including about 6 million who are in the country illegally.1 Mexicans are divided on whether this is good or bad for their country; 44% say it is good for Mexico that many of its citizens live in the U.S., and an equal share say this is bad for Mexico.
About six-in-ten Mexicans (61%) say they would not move to the U.S. even if they had the means and opportunity to do so. However, a sizable minority (35%) say they would move to the U.S. if they could, including 20% who say they would emigrate without authorization.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the population of Mexico will be 116,220,947 by mid-year. So, 35% of that is 40.7 million who want to move here if it were legal. And of those, 23 million would like to move here even if it were illegal.
Mexicans are less likely than they were a year ago to say that people from their country who move to the U.S. have a better life there; 47% say life is better in the U.S., compared with 53% in 2012. About one-in-five (18%) say Mexicans have a worse life in the U.S., while 29% say it is neither better nor worse. However, among those who have close friends or relatives living in the U.S., 70% say these friends or relatives have achieved their goals, while just 25% believe they have been disappointed.
Three-in-ten Mexicans say they personally know someone who went to the U.S. but returned to Mexico because the person could not find work. About a quarter (27%) know someone who has been deported or detained by the U.S. government for immigration reasons in the last 12 months.