SAN DIEGO — Mexico’s new president may dissuade some immigrants from returning home, despite promising economic opportunities there and a faltering U.S. job market.

The vast majority of the 40,000 Mexican expatriates who voted in Sunday’s election cast ballots against President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto.

Many immigrants said Monday that they were shocked his Institutional Revolutionary Party — which largely convinced them to leave their homeland — has returned to power.

“I think most immigrants kind of fled Mexico because of the PRI, and they still carry visions of a PRI that was corrupt and murderous,” said Guadalupe Sandoval, an 18-year-old San Diego college student who said she closely watched the race. “I’m definitely surprised.”

Sandoval said her family would have considered returning if Pena Nieto’s top challenger, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had won. The PRI won only about 38 percent of the vote to regain the presidency.

Sandoval’s family left Mexico a year before the PRI ended its 71-year rule in 2000. Illegal immigration has dramatically dropped since then because of the crackdown at the U.S. border after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the slowing of the U.S. economy.

More than 40,000 Mexicans voted from 91 countries in Sunday’s elections. Mexican immigrants gained the right to vote in their country’s elections in 2006.

The vast majority voted for Josefina Vazquez Mota, of President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party, who garnered 17,169 votes from abroad, according to preliminary results released Monday from Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute.

Lopez Obrador got 15,878 votes among voters from abroad, while Pena Nieto received 6,359.

Pena Nieto said he wanted “a relationship that will allow the productive integration of North America.”

But 56-year-old Mexican immigrant Justiniano Rosario, who lives in New York, said he sees a downward spiral for the homeland that he left 27 years ago.

“There is too much violence and little honesty among politicians. It’s a circus and with the PRI, nothing is going to change,” said Rosario, who works transporting boxes of food supplies for a local warehouse. “The PRI governed for so many years and lied to the people. They are not going to resolve the problem of violence.”

He added: “I don’t believe in any of the candidates — but I believe a lot less in the PRI.”