A new poll from Fox News finds that a majority of respondents want Puerto Rico to be a state, not a territory or an independent nation.
In phone interviews with over 1,000 subjects, Fox found that 41% of those surveyed favored statehood for Puerto Rico — an 11 point jump since the last time Fox asked this question.
9% favored independence. This is a 2 point drop since the last time the questions was asked — and almost twice the percentage which has ever voted for independence in Puerto Rico.
37% wanted Puerto Rico to continue as a U.S. territory, compared with 46% last time the question was asked.
The exact wording of the question:
As you may know, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States whose residents are
United States citizens. Which one of the following options do you prefer for the status of Puerto Rico?
- It should become the fifty-first state
- It should become an independent nation
- It should continue as a U.S. territory
Fox found some differences among populations represented in the survey. For example, 48% of Democrats and 48% of Hispanics favored statehood for Puerto Rico. In both cases, these populations supported statehood more than the average of all respondents.
Fox also suggested that the increase in people supporting statehood for Puerto Rico could be a response to the territory’s experience of Hurricane Maria. Half the respondents said that the White House did a “poor” job of responding to the disaster in Puerto Rico and 14% more said it was a “fair” response; only 16% said the response was “excellent.”
Reporting of the continuing catastrophe in Puerto Rico has increased awareness in the States of the fact that Puerto Rico is home to more than 3 million U.S. citizens. Recent research suggests that most Americans were simply unaware of that fact.
At the same time, Americans have seen that the response to Puerto Rico’s destruction was different from the response to similar catastrophes in Florida and Texas during the 2017 hurricane season. 49% of respondents to the Fox News survey said the response to Florida’s needs was “excellent” or “good” and 52% said the same for Texas. Only 38% chose either “excellent” or “good” when asked about the aid provided to Puerto Rico.
Realizing that Puerto Rico, as a U.S. territory, is inhabited by U.S. citizens receiving less support than States was apparently eye-opening for many Americans.
Read the full report on the Fox News poll.