- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Only 26 percent of Mexicans believe their government is winning its war against drug cartels, but most approve of the crackdown on the narcotics trade, according to a new survey by independent researchers in Mexico.

Titled “Citizenry, Democracy and Drug Violence,” the survey was previewed Wednesday during a conference at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Drug violence has killed an estimated 47,500 Mexicans since 2006, and President Felipe Calderon’s hard-knuckled campaign against the cartels is a hotly debated issue among presidential candidates running in the July 1 election.

The survey found that 64 percent of Mexicans polled generally approve of the government’s posture toward drug cartels.

More than 60 percent say they would vote for a candidate who takes a hard stance on drug trafficking, regardless of whether it results in more violence.

Only 25 percent would support a candidate who proposed negotiations with drug cartels to reduce violence.

The survey was conducted by researchers from a variety of Mexican groups and backed by the Democracy and Security Analysis Collective, a Mexican non-government organization.

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

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