The possibility of Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly supporting Statehood has never been more of a reality than in today’s political environment. A November 2006 telephone poll of residents of the island showed when faced with the decision, 74% would choose Statehood over the 12% in favor of Independence. With 65% of respondents favorable to Luis Fortuño winning PNP’s gubernatorial race in 2008, “now” may very well be Puerto Rico’s best chance at moving towards true representation in Washington.
According to the poll, 43% of respondents believed a plebiscite vote for Statehood would provide more job opportunities, better living conditions and an overall better quality of life. The benefits of Statehood were also on the minds of 28% who said the economy was the biggest problem facing Puerto Rico today. In addition, 20% gave the public schools a failing grade citing the need for federal help necessary to improve public education.
Even though respondents clearly were looking for change in the future, their traditional family values remained intact. Respondents were united on issues of religion, marriage, as well as an unquestionable concern for their children’s future with 76% of respondents citing prayer should be allowed in schools and 72% disagreeing with abortion.
(The telephone survey, one of three Puerto Rico Herald tracking polls to be done on the Puerto Rican electorate and social and issues, involved 810 voters throughout the island and has a margin of error of +/- 3%.)