Political Salsa, the bipartisan political mixer sponsored by PR51st and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida, gave candidates a chance to meet with constituents and share their ideas. This annual event is all about voter education… and fun.
With refreshments and music, Political Salsa is an opportunity for Central Florida to learn the positions of candidates on both sides of the aisle. Candidates can spell out their views for a diverse audience, but especially Central Florida’s Hispanic community.
This year, with many evacuees from Puerto Rico still living in Florida, the Puerto Rican community’s votes may be particularly influential.
There were straw polls for all the positions on upcoming ballots. Results suggest that there will be some close races. Last year’s straw polls showed that Puerto Rican voters are not predictable. Puerto Rico will be, as Governor Rossello promised, a battleground state.
There was also a Statehood Poll. The results in this case were not close at all. 247 non-partisan attendees chose their preferred political status for Puerto Rico.
- 20 votes were for the current territorial status — no change. That’s 8%.
- 36 chose independence. That’s 15% — a far higher percentage than have ever voted for independence in Puerto Rico.
- 188 chose statehood. That’s 77%. Statehood Wins!
Polls consistently show that statehood is the top choice. The large number for independence was a surprise for many observers. As Jose Serrano said, though, it’s easier to be against statehood when you live in a state. That may also explain the 8% who chose to continue as an unincorporated territory.
As a state, Puerto Rico will have the full rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship, including the right to vote in presidential elections.