Mexico and United States Both to Blame for Drug Cartel Violence, Majority Say in Study

There is enough blame to go around in the drug violence along the Mexican border, the majority of respondents said in a Pew Hispanic survey released Wednesday.

Sixty-one percent of Mexicans said their country and the U.S. were equally to blame for the explosion of violence on the border over the past few years, according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. Another 29 percent said the Mexican government was losing ground in its campaign against the drug cartels.

The survey, conducted in Mexico between March 22 and April 7, interviewed 800 adults in Spanish; it has a margin of sampling error of 4.5 percentage points.

The concerns over the drug cartels – and the Mexican and American response to the violence –seemingly weighed heavily on the interviewees. Only 45 percent believed the Mexican government, for instance, was making progress in the war.

There is some optimism, however. More than 80 percent of the respondents told interviewers they endorsed the use of the Mexican army against the ruthless drug traffickers. Further, they support the United States' involvement in combating the cartels.

More On This...

Still, more than half of those interviewed – 57 percent – oppose the deployment of U.S. troops in their homeland. Despite that majority, however, 38 percent supported that armed involvement compared to 25 percent in 2010, according to the survey.

The passage of the controversial SB 1070 law in Arizona also affected the responses of those interviewed. When asked their opinion of the image of the United States, 52 percent of Mexicans hold a favorable opinion, but 41 percent – far more than prior to the law passing – held negative views of the country.

To that end, fewer Mexicans believe they'd be better off living in the United States. Only 44 percent of the respondents said they believe that to be true, compared to 57 percent two years ago. Twenty-two percent went further and said life was worse in America; in 2009, only 14 percent felt that way.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón, whose administration has centered around defeating the drug cartels, was generally viewed positively by the survey respondents. Fifty-seven percent said his administration's influence on the country was good. Compared to two years ago, however, his popularity has dropped, the survey found.

The drug wars in Mexico have claimed some 35,000 lives since 2006.

Follow us on
Like us at