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What Do Polls Tell Us about Puerto Rico Status?

Gallup released a poll of Americans across the nation last week showing that nearly two thirds of respondents support statehood for Puerto Rico. Their findings confirm a trend seen in other polls. Stateside Americans are ready for the 51st state — and they want Puerto Rico in that spot.

What about Puerto Ricans? Three 2019 polls canvassed the population on the Island, in New York, and in Florida, the state with the largest Puerto Rican population.

Puerto Rican voters in Florida

As initially reported in Politico, 81% of Florida voters of Puerto Rican heritage favored statehood for Puerto Rico in an April 2019 poll, compared with 12% who said they did not support statehood.

83% said the issue was very important to them in the context of their 2020 votes. Only 3% said it was not important at all. 85% said that Congress should take action on the results of a Yes/No vote on statehood in Puerto Rico, such as the votes that Hawaii and Alaska held before they became States.

Asked about the reasons Puerto Rico is currently suffering an economic crisis, 57% agreed with this statement:

Puerto Rico’s status as a Commonwealth and not a U.S. State is the underlying cause for the Island’s current crisis and living conditions.

66% agreed with this statement:

The current crisis in Puerto Rico is the culmination of decades of Congressional neglect. Congress has never offered Puerto Ricans the same rights or opportunities to succeed as other citizens.

71% agreed with this statement:

Corruption and incompetence of all Puerto Rican governments is to blame for the current crisis in Puerto Rico.

While respondents identified themselves as both Democrats and Republicans, almost half said they were not committed to either party.

See the poll results

See the analysis

Puerto Rican voters in New York

As first reported in a May 22 Politico New York story by Sally Goldenberg (“Puerto Ricans in New York overwhelmingly support Statehood, New Poll Finds”), two thirds of New York voters of Puerto Rican heritage favored statehood while 24% were opposed.

Support for statehood was strong across party lines: 65% of Democrats, 78% of
Republicans, and 67% of Independent Puerto Rican voters back U.S. statehood for Puerto Rico.

Respondents strongly supported a Yes/No vote on political status on the Island, and 75% would support statehood if Puerto Rico voters once again choose statehood.

Like Florida’s Puerto Rican voters, those in New York also consider 2020 candidates’ views on Puerto Rico important when they think about their vote. 70% said they would be more likely to support a candidate who aggressively works toward statehood for Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Ricans on the mainland want statehood, are ready to hold an election, and think Congress should respect the outcome and the will of the voters on the Island,” researchers concluded.

See the poll results

See the analysis

See a comparison of the Florida and New York poll results

Puerto Rico voters

A July 14 survey held in Puerto Rico found that 61% of respondents favor statehood, and 71% identified the status question as “extremely” or “very” important, compared with just 4% who said it was not important at all.

Other issues were identified as important by respondents as well:

  • 91% said that keeping U.S. citizenship is important to them.
  • 94% said that equal treatment by the federal government is important. 82% believe that the government does not currently treat Puerto Rico equally.

Respondents also identified problems they felt would be improved by statehood.

  • 60% thought statehood would help with political corruption.
  • 71% thought it would help create jobs.
  • 69% believe it would improve the economy.
  • 64% expect it would help with crime and drug abuse.
  • 74% believe education would be improved.
  • 69% thought statehood would improve power and water.
  • 50% thought it would keep taxes down.
  • 68% felt statehood would create a better future for Puerto Rico.
  • 71% thought disaster recovery would be easier under statehood.
  • 66% believe it would improve government support for families.

See the poll results


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