High Info Voters Support Puerto Rico Statehood

Navigator research recently checked on awareness of and support for eight political changes, including statehood for Puerto Rico. These reforms were, in the words of the Navigator report, “bigger ideas geared at bolder electoral and political reforms.”

Some of these ideas have been coming up in early presidential campaigns, or in reform proposals in Congress.

Navigator sorted respondents to the survey in a new way. While they asked whether the people they interviewed were liberal or conservative, they discovered that the most interesting distinction was between the “high-info” and the average respondent.

Statehood for Puerto Rico was one of the most familiar ideas; one third of respondents had heard of this proposal. Most proposals were unfamiliar to those taking the survey. But some respondents were familiar with five out of the eight ideas. These individuals were identified as “high-info” — people who were more aware of the new ideas in general. High-info respondents made up less than one quarter of all those surveyed.

High-info voters support Puerto Rico statehood

More than half of respondents support statehood for Puerto Rico. With 53 per cent of respondents favoring statehood for Puerto Rico, this proposal was among the most popular. Only 25% of those surveyed were opposed to statehood for the territory.

That’s a difference of 28 percentage points.

Among the high-info respondents, however, there was a difference of 43 percentage points between those who supported the idea and those who opposed it. Respondents who were more politically savvy in general were much more likely to support statehood for Puerto Rico.

In split testing, people who were given background on the arguments for and against statehood for Puerto Rico should nearly as strong a difference. Instead of the 28 percentage point difference found in the control group, those who were presented with more information showed a 40 percentage point difference in favor of statehood.

While Navigator is drawing conclusions about voter support of reforms in general, the result for Puerto Rico mirrors some earlier polls. Both 538 and Morning Consult reported that people who knew Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens were more likely to support statehood.

Since the majority of Americans living in States did not know this before the 2017 hurricane season, asking whether Puerto Rico should become a State might have sounded the same to these people as asking whether Cuba or the Bahamas should become a State. Greater understanding of the circumstances increased the likelihood that those surveyed would support statehood for Puerto Rico.

Conclusions

Navigator concluded that people favoring reforms should not assume that everyone already understands their proposals. They should plan for voter education efforts.

Thinking specifically about Puerto Rico, it appears that ignorance about the territory continues to hamper efforts to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status.

This survey was conducted with 1,005 registered voters earlier this month.

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