July 20 (UPI) — Americans with positive views of U.S. relations with Mexico have hit a new low — as just 72 percent consider Mexico an ally or a friend, a new survey showed Thursday.
The figure in Gallup’s latest poll has fallen from five years ago, when 78 percent held a favorable view of their southern neighbor. About 20 years ago, that number was 88 percent.
Researchers cited President Donald Trump‘s policies as a likely factor in the decline. During his campaign, he famously referred to some Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.”
“Americans’ attitudes on U.S.-Mexico relations had taken a negative turn in 2013,” Gallup said. “But this steady drumbeat of critical rhetoric, as well as [Trump’s] vow to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it, appears to have further contributed to worsening assessments among Republicans, which are largely responsible for the decrease among Americans overall since then.”
In the survey, 27 percent said they see Mexico as an ally and 45 percent said it’s friendly, but not an ally. Twenty percent said the country is an enemy and six percent said it’s unfriendly.
Fewer Republicans (17 percent) now view Mexico an ally than did in 2001 (36 percent), and the reverse is true for Democrats, who account for a 7 percent increase on that question in the last 17 years.
The survey said a larger percentage of Americans see six other countries as allies first before Mexico — Great Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Germany and Israel.
A majority of Americans also view Saudi Arabia (53 percent) and China (55 percent). Sixty-two percent, though, said Chinese trade polices are unfair.
Russia, Iran and North Korea were mostly viewed as enemies or unfriendly, the poll showed.
Nearly 1,300 people were questioned for the poll, which has a margin of error of 3 points.