A new Gallup poll confirms that Americans in general favor statehood for Puerto Rico. 66% of respondents said they wanted statehood for Puerto Rico. 27% were opposed and 7% were undecided.
Gallup has asked the American people this question four times since 1963. Each time, a majority supported statehood. However, the most recent poll had the highest percentage of support at 66%.
Between 1962 and 1991, a majority said they would accept independence for Puerto Rico if a majority of voters on the Island chose that status option. Votes for independence in Puerto Rico have never topped 5%. In the most recent plebiscite, just over 1% voted for independence.
In those earlier Gallup polls, the majority said they supported statehood, even though they were willing to accept a request for independence which never came.
As the infographic below shows, the Gallup poll confirms other recent polls, showing that the majority of Americans want to welcome Puerto Rico into the Union.
Breaking it down
Gallup broke down the responses into a variety of groups. They found that 80% of young respondents (18-29) supported statehood for Puerto Rico. 63% of people who identified as white favored statehood, and 74% of nonwhite respondents. 83% of Democrats were in favor of statehood.
The group that showed the least support was Republicans, who were almost evenly divided. 48% said they did not favor statehood, while 45% did.
Gallup suggested that some of the recent controversies in the news might have affected this particular number. Their own reporting shows some confusion, though. They claimed that Republican leader Mitch McConnell said statehood was “full-bore socialism.” While many news sources have reported this, a check of the exact words McConnell used shows that he was calling Democratic policies rather than statehood “socialism.”
Gallup also reported that President Trump said statehood for Puerto Rico is “an absolute no.” While Trump used these words, they have been taken out of context.
In an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Trump said, “With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing.” At that point, said Trump, statehood for Puerto Rico could be “something they talk about. With people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no.”
The focus is therefore not on statehood for Puerto Rico, but on Trump’s tiff with Carmen Yulin Cruz. Trump’s only official statement on statehood for Puerto Rico came from his campaign website.
However, since much of the reporting on both McConnell’s and Trump’s statements showed the same confusions, Gallup may be quite correct in assuming that these statements might be causing Republicans to hesitate on statehood for Puerto Rico.
Republican support for statehood for Puerto Rico has been strong for decades. It is part of the Republican Party platform, and many Republican lawmakers and presidents have supported statehood.
Puerto Rico has been waiting for statehood for a long time, and may have to wait out another news cycle or two before Congress can consider the issue.
However, it is clear that America is ready for Puerto Rico, the 51st state. Puerto Rico is also ready for statehood.