Mainland Americans Warming Up to Puerto Rican Statehood

Puerto Rico has voted to become the 51st state in the union. The White House has asked Congress to take action to admit Puerto Rico to the union. Will the American people welcome a 51st state?

A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll suggests that they could.

Angus Reid asked “a representative national sample” of more than 1,000 adults in the United States their views on the question last January, and then asked again after the November plebiscite. The specific question was, “Thinking specifically about Puerto Rico, which one of these policies do you prefer?” Possible answers included becoming a state, remaining a territory, becoming independent, or “not sure.”

Of all respondents, 15% favored independence — far more support than this option has ever received in Puerto Rico — but the remaining responses were fairly evenly divided among the remaining options.

The striking thing is the change between January’s responses and the current responses.

  • 30 per cent of respondents believe Puerto Rico should remain a U.S. territory. This is a drop of 2% since January.
  • 28 per cent of those surveyed believe that Puerto Rico should become the 51st State, an increase of 7% since January.

This means that the idea of Puerto Rican statehood is becoming more acceptable to the mainland U.S. population. The same is true of Puerto Ricans; the difference is that they have now reached the point at which a majority prefers statehood. Fifty four per cent of Puerto Rican voters chose to reject their current status as a U.S. territory in last month’s plebiscite. Sixty one per cent of voters chose statehood as their preferred status.

Angus Reid discovered that 36% of Hispanic respondents favored statehood for Puerto Rico and that far more men favored statehood than women (women were more likely to describe themselves as unsure), but the difference between Democrats and Republicans was slight.

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