A recent poll in Florida explored the opinions of Central Florida’s Puerto Rican population on a number of political issues related to Puerto Rico and to the upcoming vote in Florida. The Center for American Progress Action Fund and Latino Decisions conducted the poll. 84% of those polled said they would “definitely” vote, and only 2% said they did not plan to vote.
One of the questions asked was this:
“When it comes to the status of Puerto Rico, which is closer to your opinion?”
Here were the answers:
- Puerto Rico should become 51st state 56%
- Puerto Rico should remain commonwealth 25%
- Puerto Rico should be independent country, not part of the U.S. 8%
- Don’t have strong opinion either way 12%
More than half of the people who answered the question said that Puerto Rico should be the 51st state.
It wasn’t quite that simple, though. 65% of those born in Puerto Rico said Puerto Rico should be a state, while only 42% of those born in a U.S. state made that choice. Statehood was still the top choice for those born in a state; only 32% wanted Puerto Rico to keep its current territorial status. 11% of people born in a state wanted Puerto Rico to become an independent nation.
Only 6% of the people born in Puerto Rico wanted to see independence for Puerto Rico — the same number that voted for independence in the 2012 referendum. 25% were in favor of continuing as a territory. 65% — the same number found in Puerto Rico in a survey this summer by the main news organization there — wanted statehood.
People who live in Florida will not be eligible to vote in the referendum on Puerto Rico’s status that is expected to take place in 2017. However, more than half of participants said that the positions on Puerto Rico taken by the candidates they’ll be voting for in Florida are “very important,” and another 23% said these positions were “somewhat important.” Only 10% said that these positions were not important at all.Congress and candidates, Puerto Rico matters to U.S. voters. Click To Tweet
This poll tells us a couple of important things about statehood. First, this sample’s answers are very similar to polls and to the 2012 referendum. The majority of the people of Puerto Rico want statehood, not independence, and not a continuation of the territory status that has brought Puerto Rico to its current crisis.
Second, the status of Puerto Rico matters to Puerto Rican voters in the states, an increasingly important group of voters. Hillary Clinton has already announced that she will respect the will of the people of Puerto Rico and Donald Trump has said that the will of the people should be considered. This is the time to make it clear to the candidates and to the Congress that Puerto Rico is ready for statehood.