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Photo of lady justice with scalesDemocracy

Perceptions on Democratic Institutions in Mexico

The principal product of the project is the survey “Perceptions on Democratic Institutions in Mexico,” which is designed to measure public opinion about topics of security, corruption, trust in institutions, political efficacy, accountability and respect for basic human rights.

Unlike other surveys about democracy, this project followed a dual strategy, realizing an open public count and a diverse sample of experts in all the territory – academics, journalists, analysts and public officials. This project seeks to become a biannual tool that evaluates the perceptions about the Mexican democracy’s status in a safe, robust and unbiased manner.

Survey Methodology and Results

Currently there are several measures that study the quality of the democracy in a comparable manner between them Freedom House, the Polity IV data and polls like the World Values Survey (WWS), Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) or the Latinobarómetro, that measure public support for the democracy of the region. Nevertheless, our survey permits new important comparisons between the public opinion and the experts.

With this data we can answer questions like: Do the citizens and the experts coincide about which institutions are the most trusted in Mexico? Who feels the most political efficiency, the general population, or the political elites and why? What determines the optimism for the democratic future of Mexico? How do the political elites and general population differ about their understanding of political speech?

In July of 2020, the first survey with a national level representation was implemented and the first results offered some important findings, for example:

  • 50% of the open general population considers the elections were done according to the law, while 88% of the experts believe it to be so.
  • The most trustworthy institutions amongst the open population are the navy (80% approve) and the army (73% approve). In contrast, amongst the experts the most trustworthy institutions are the INE (83%) and the INAI (77%).
  • 90% of the experts consider that all the votes count the same in all the elections, while only 64% of the open populous believes the same. In contrast, the citizens (49%) and the experts (48%) agree that not all Mexican citizens count with the same rights.

This project is a co-joint initiative of the center, the Institute of Judicial Investigations of the UNAM, the Departments of Political Science at UC Santa Barbara and UC Merced and SIMO Consulting. The project is financed by the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UCMEXUS) and the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).