Most Mexicans continue to support the use of the nation’s army to fight drug traffickers, according to a survey completed before Mexico’s July 1 presidential election.

Eight-in-ten say this is the right course, a level of support that has remained remarkably constant since the Pew Global Attitudes Project first asked the question in 2009.

Support for outgoing president Felipe Calderón’s strategy continues, despite limited confidence that the government is winning the drug war, and widespread concerns about its costs. Just 47% believe progress is being made against drug traffickers, virtually identical to the 45% who held this opinion in 2011.

Three-in-ten say the government is actually losing ground against the cartels, while 19% see no change in the stand-off between the authorities and crime syndicates.

At the same time, the public is uneasy about the moral cost of the drug war: 74% say human rights violations by the military and police are a very big problem. But concern about rights abuses coexist with continued worries about drug-related violence and crime – both of which strong majorities describe as pressing issues in Mexico. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.