University of Puerto Rico’s Mock Election Shows Desire to Change Territorial Status

The University of Puerto Rico’s  Rio Piedras  campus held a mock election using the ballots for next month’s vote on Puerto Rico’s status. Seven hundred and fifty seven students from all majors and departments took part, comprising about 5% of the total student population:

The first question – “Do you agree with maintaining the current territorial political status?”-  returned a clear answer:  29.7%  voted for the status quo, and 69.3% wanted a change.

The second question – “Which of the following non-territorial options you prefer?”- showed greater diversity of opinion:

  • Statehood: 36.3%
  • Independence: 34.5%
  • Sovereign Commonwealth: 20.1%

Are students’ views very different from those of the island as a whole? Pro English posted a “new political status poll” today showing a 41% preference for statehood — however, a close reading of the report, headlined “New political status poll,” shows that the poll was actually taken in November of 2011, a year ago.

The most recent general poll, from early October, found 51% of Puerto Ricans in favor of the status quo, with the following results for the three options for political status:

  • Statehood: 44%
  • Independence: 4%
  • Sovereign Commonwealth: 42%

Independence fared better in the student mock trial than among the general population.

The October general poll shows that voters now prefer statehood by a larger margin than they did in 2011.

The university mock election was a class project, but Puerto Rico also participates in the National Student/Parent Mock Election, a voting exercise for children between the ages of six and eighteen throughout the U.S.  This initiative is run by a national network of volunteer state and school district coordinators with the help of the League of Women Voters, educators, public officials, newspapers and other community-based groups.  In 2008, more than 500,000 children participated in the mock election in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.  Local newspapers, radio stations and television news publicized the results.

Educators and families wanting to take part in the upcoming children’s mock election can find the details at Puerto Rico Student/Parent Mock Election

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