Rasmussen Reports, a major opinion polling organization, has reported that an increasing number of Americans approve of statehood for Puerto Rico, and more would prefer for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state than Washington, D.C.
In a phone and internet survey conducted last week, Rasmussen Reports asked 1,000 American adults whether D.C. and Puerto Rico should become states. There were two questions in the survey:
- The U.S. Constitution designates the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., as a federal district and not a state. Should Washington, D.C. be a state?
- Should Puerto Rico be a state?
On the second question, “Should Puerto Rico be a state?”, 47% said yes. 19% were not sure, so the number saying no to Puerto Rico as the 51st state was just 34%.
In contrast, 24% said yes to D.C. statehood and 58% said no, with 18% undecided.
Rasmussen Reports has asked these questions before. 40% favored statehood for Puerto Rico in March of 2017, and 33% said yes in 2015. The percentage of American adults favoring statehood for Puerto Rico is showing a steady increase.
Why favor statehood?
Why are people living in the States increasingly in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico? One of the most likely reasons is that more Americans are aware now that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
Surveys in the past have shown that Americans generally didn’t realize that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, or that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. For people who don’t understand this, asking whether Puerto Rico should become a State may be equivalent to asking whether Cuba or Madagascar should become a State.
The catastrophe of Hurricane Maria has made more Americans aware that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States and that people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.