81% of Florida Puerto Ricans: “Proud” if Puerto Rico Becomes a State

Eighty-one percent of citizens of Puerto Rican origin in central Florida would be proud if the territory becomes a State, according to a new poll.

When asked if they agree with the statement that Puerto Rican statehood would make them proud, 60% answered that they “strongly agree,” and 21% responded that they “somewhat agree.”

Only 15% did not agree, nine percent “strongly,” and six percent “somewhat.”

The responses demonstrated that even many who are not ‘statehooders’ would be happy if the territory became a State.

Statehood First Choice of 64%

Among those questioned in the survey by a professional polling company, 64% identified statehood as their personal preference for resolving the question of Puerto Rico’s ultimate status.

In a plebiscite in Puerto Rico held by the Commonwealth government along with the 2012 elections, 61.2% chose statehood over nationhood as the alternative to Puerto Rico’s current territory status.

The scientific sample results are of national political importance. Florida is a State so closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, that it is widely considered a ‘swing’ State in presidential elections. It is so populous, that it can swing the elections one way or another.

Additionally, voters of Puerto Rican origin are considered by news and political analysts to be the “swing vote” of this swing State. They have voted for and elected both Republicans and Democrats.

Their numbers are increasing rapidly as migration from the territory to the States has totaled about 1,000 a week in recent years. Most islanders   move to Florida, and most of those go to the “I-4” corridor between and around Orlando and Tampa, the area of the survey.

The U.S. Census estimates that there were 987,663 people of Puerto Rican origin in Florida as of July 1st, 2013. It counted 847,550 in 2010 and 482,027 in 2000. The 2000 count was double the number of people of Puerto Rican origin in 1990, according to the Census.

76% For “Statehood: Yes or No” Vote

The percentage of citizens of Puerto Rican origin favoring a “Statehood: Yes or No” plebiscite was also overwhelming: 76%.

Puerto Rico statehood party President Pedro Pierluisi, the Commonwealth’s representative to the Federal government, has proposed such a vote. As the territory’s voice in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Resident Commissioner has led 131 other members of the House in sponsoring a bill that provides for an insular vote on statehood.

The bill has sponsors from both national parties, including all Florida Democrats and several Florida Republicans. Most of its sponsors are Democrats, however.

Three senators have sponsored a companion bill. All Democrats, they were led by Martin Heinrich (D-NM). Neither of Florida’s senators are sponsors.

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and most of his “commonwealth” party members who control the territorial Legislative Assembly oppose a vote on statehood, but some party leaders do not. They include Garcia Padilla’s predecessor as party president, former insular House of Representatives Minority Leader Hector Ferrer, who has hinted that he may challenge Garcia for the governorship in 2016.

Federal Action Important to 85%

A total of 85% of the Florida citizens of Puerto Rican origin polled view presidential and congressional action to resolve the question of Puerto Rico’s ultimate status as important. It was “Extremely important” to 37%, “Very Important” to 39%, and “Somewhat important” to 9%.

Only 9% of those surveyed regarded Federal action on the issue as “Not very important” and just two percent answered “Not important.”

Additionally, the site reported that the new poll found overwhelming margins would vote for candidates for public office who: favor statehood; would back a congressional bill that will automatically make Puerto Rico a State if islanders vote for the status; want Congress to act to resolve the question of the territory’s ultimate status; and would act to authorize a status plebiscite.

Thirty percent were aware that the Federal government enacted a law in January providing for a plebiscite on statuses that can resolve the issue. The law requires U.S. Justice Department approval of the plebiscite’s status options.

Voter Consumer Research polled people between August 20th and September 4th. Ninety-two percent were registered to vote in Florida.

The firm said that the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9% — an amount that would hardly matter in the poll given the lopsided nature of the results.

Voter Consumer Research has been praised for the accuracy of its polls by the two political analysts not identified with a political party who may be the most highly regarded in the field, Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg.

It polls for Republican presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns, and large corporations and national organizations.

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