BOSTON, Mass. — If Mexico were a battleground state in the US election, President Barack Obama would have nothing to fear there. He'd crush Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Obama would win Mexico with 58 percent over Romney’s 16 percent, a new poll shows.
Yet that’s a much slimmer margin than the one from a similar poll taken around this time during Obama’s first run for the White House. In 2008, Obama scooped a whopping 63 percent over John McCain’s 10 percent. Could it be Mexicans are souring on Obama?
In fact, the BGC-Excelsior poll published on Wednesday cites key areas where Mexicans see the Obama administration failing. A wide majority of those polled say Obama has done little or nothing to improve the situation of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the US, to combat drug cartels or to improve trade relations with Mexico.
In the in-depth series What if the world could vote?, GlobalPost found at least one Mexican Romney fan. Alejandro Ramirez, a 39-year-old architect, reckons that Romney would try harder to build bridges with Mexico’s newly elected president, Enrique Pena Nieto.
Mexico’s president-elect takes office in December, succeeding a president and party that have been stalwart Washington allies in trade and the war on drugs. But many Mexicans think their coordination was a flop.
“Our government tried to curb [drug trafficking] and ended with this war, which has no meaning because [Americans] are still consuming drugs,” Ramirez told GlobalPost's Allison Jackson.
“They don’t really care about the Latin American people. But they should do more for us. Many of their labor hands are Latinos who’ve been breaking into other levels of the economy,” he noted.
That's in stark contrast to 40-year-old Mexican photographer Bernardo De Niz.
“I’d vote for Barack Obama because he is the best candidate and he has been trying to solve all the problems left from eight years of the Bush administration that caused all of today’s problems," De Niz told Jackson. "He is very committed and has high moral values. I believe in him.”
Romney would’ve needed a big PR push in Mexico. Although the candidate’s father, George Romney, was born in Mexico — and a clan of Romneys remains there — few Mexicans (one in four respondents) know the former Massachusetts governor.
Meanwhile, 95 percent know of Obama and 61 percent have a good or very good opinion of the US president.
It might have helped that his teenage daughter, Malia Obama, had visited the country, setting off controversy at home and a tourism boost in Mexico.
Mexico and Latin America overall were largely ignored in the 2012 US presidential election campaign. Romney spoke of Latin America during the debates when he vowed to expand trade with the region. Even those pronouncements, however unspecific, outshined Obama’s scant mention of America’s neighbors — who are vital trade partners with growing middle-class appetites for American-made goods.
Of course, Mexicans will not vote on Tuesday. But many of their family members who live in the United States will.
GlobalPost series: See what the world thinks about election 2012