New Poll Shows Puerto Ricans Want Statehood

A Suffolk University poll found that 70% of Puerto Rican voters prefer statehood over other possible status options. Suffolk University partnered with Universidad del Turabo to poll likely voters in the wake of the White House budget which provides funding for a federally sanctioned vote on the status question.

The poll found that 13% of respondents would choose independence, more than twice as many as in the November 2012 vote. 13% were undecided among the possible options, and a resounding 70% chose statehood — even more than the 61% who did so in November. The poll did not include any other specific status options — perhaps because the various definitions of “commonwealth” are not clear enough to use in a poll at this time or the option’s long and established rejection by federal authorities — but did include the option of the status quo.

“This finding has historic and political implications beyond the composition of our flag,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “[T]he impact of these numbers on the political conversation should not be ignored.”

While the poll did not ask why the respondents preferred statehood, there are clues in the fact that 58% said that Puerto Rico is “on the wrong track.” Drug trafficking, economic troubles, poor quality infrastructure, and public safety all were listed as serious problems by respondents, with the majority saying these matters were being handled badly in Puerto Rico right now.

Health care was the only ray of light: two thirds of those polled felt positive about the quality of health care available to them.

Most of the respondents described themselves as unaffiliated with any political party. Among those with an affiliation, the PNP was the largest group, followed by the PPD. There were a few members of the Independence Party as well. A wide range of ages and household incomes was represented.

Here were answers to specific questions on the status issue:

  • Thinking about Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States, do you think that relationships should change, or should the status quo be preserved?
    • change: 56%
    • status quo: 37%
    • undecided/refused: 7%
  • If the United States Congress allowed the citizens of Puerto Rico to choose between independence and statehood, what would you choose?
    • statehood: 70%
    • independence: 13%
    • undecided/refused: 17%

The raw data may be seen in PDF form.

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