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Most Say Drug Bosses Control Mexico, Want Troops on Border If Violence Grows

Voters strongly believe drug cartels are now the most powerful force in Mexico and that the U.S. military should be used to stop the drug-related violence they expect to cross our southern border.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters now think the drug cartels are more powerful than the government in Mexico. Just 13% disagree, while 20% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Sixty-three percent (63%) say it’s likely the drug-related violence in Mexico will spill over into the United States, with 29% who think it’s Very Likely. The overall finding is down, however, from a high of 82% 10 years ago and 73% in 2013.

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Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters believe that if drug violence continues to escalate along the Mexican border, the military should be used to protect American citizens. Only 23% oppose use of the U.S. military along the border. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

Support for use of the military to keep out Mexican drug violence has ranged from 58% to 79% in surveys since early 2009.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 6-7, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters think Mexico has not been aggressive enough in stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. By a 46% to 40% margin, voters like President Trump’s strategy of using tariffs to force Mexico to strengthen its efforts to stop illegal drugs and illegal immigrants from entering this country.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of voters say they have followed recent news stories about drug-related violence in Mexico, with 36% who are following Very Closely. Earlier this week, nine members of a U.S. family of Mormons living in Mexico were massacred by a drug gang.

Among those who have been following the news Very Closely, 76% think the drug cartels are more powerful than the Mexican government, and 75% believe Mexico’s drug-related violence is likely to spill over the border into the United States. Seventy-two percent (72%) of these voters favor using the U.S. military along the border to protect American citizens from this violence.

Republicans have been following the recent news reports about drug-related violence more closely than Democrats and voters not affiliated with either major political party and feel much more strongly that that violence is likely to spill over into the United States.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of GOP voters think the military should be used along the border to protect Americans if the Mexican drug violence continues to escalate. That view is shared by just 51% of Democrats and 66% of unaffiliateds.

Voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing are even more concerned about the escalation of drug-related violence and are more supportive of sending U.S. troops to the border to deal with it.

Most voters in general rate control of the U.S.-Mexico border as a national security concern on the level of North Korea.

As recently as August, 43% of voters said the United States should build a wall along the Mexican border which the Trump administration is doing. Forty-nine percent (49%) disagreed.

But most voters in surveys for years have viewed the war on drugs as a failure.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 6-7, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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