A new poll of Florida’s voters of Puerto Rican origin found that 80% favor statehood for Puerto Rico — and that the attitudes of candidates toward this issue will affect their votes in 2020.
ALG Research contacted 600 Puerto Rican voters and asked questions about their voting history and their plans for upcoming elections.
These voters are not committed to either of the major national political parties, but they are committed to supporting Puerto Rico with their votes. 83% said it was very important to them that candidates should commit to specific solutions for Puerto Rico’s economic recovery and well-being. Adding in those who felt it was “somewhat important,” this issue mattered to a full 97% of those surveyed. Only 3% said this issue was unimportant.
71% said specifically that they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who favors statehood for Puerto Rico. 80% said the candidate’s favorable view of statehood would be important to them.
Is Congress to blame for Puerto Rico’s financial problems?
Voters were also asked their opinion of the causes of Puerto Rico’s financial woes. 57% agreed that the current territorial status was the underlying cause of the problems, 66% blamed neglect by Congress, and another 54% said that Congress caused inequality between Puerto Rico and the states, thus leading to the current crisis.
Voters also believed that their local government and local taxation were part of the problem. However, 85% believed that Congress should respect the outcome of a yes/no vote on statehood, if Puerto Rico were to hold a vote of this kind.
Puerto Rico has not held a yes/no vote on statehood. However, referenda were held in 2012 and in 2017 which asked voters to choose among statehood, independence, and the current territorial status. Statehood gained the largest number of votes in both cases.
Florida Matters in National Elections
Florida is a swing state — a state which does not predictably vote either blue or red in elections. With 1.13 million Puerto Rican residents, Florida is likely to be influenced by the political positions of Puerto Rican voters in the 2020 presidential elections.
Puerto Rico Governor Rossello has already told 2020 candidates that he wants to hear a clear position on Puerto Rico statehood from all presidential hopefuls. In Florida, a position favoring statehood may be the most effective.