Mexican president's approval rating plumbs new low

August 11, 2016 1:40 PM EDT

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto gives a speech next to Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove (not pictured) during an official welcoming ceremony, at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low, according to a poll published on Thursday, and is seen as being punished for lackluster economic growth as well as his failure to crack down on corruption and ongoing drug violence.

The president's approval rating decreased to just 23 percent, down seven percentage points since April, according to local newspaper Reforma - a record low that reinforces the public's dissatisfaction with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was routed in regional elections in June.

The figure marked the lowest approval rating for a Mexican president since the administration of then president Ernesto Zedillo in the second half of the 1990s, the newspaper said.

The poll, conducted by Grupo Reforma, said that more than 60 percent of those surveyed felt security in the country had worsened, while roughly 70 percent thought that poverty and violence had increased in the last year.

Some 55 percent of respondents said corruption in the federal government had worsened, compared to 40 percent in the paper's previous poll in April.

"I think that there are sufficient reasons to understand the falling approval rating of the government of Pena Nieto,” said Alberto Aziz, a researcher at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology, adding that the ratings have trended downward somewhat steadily since 43 students were abducted in the city of Iguala in southwest Mexico in 2014.

The national poll, which surveyed 1,200 adults, was conducted between Aug. 4-7, with a margin of error of 3.3 percent.

(Reporting by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Simon Gardner, G Crosse)

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