Polls continue to show support for Puerto Rico statehood.
Every major poll of the general American public has shown that more people support statehood than oppose it. A recent YouGov poll showed the same thing: 57% completely or somewhat support statehood. Only 17% completely or somewhat oppose statehood.
Why do Americans support statehood for Puerto Rico?
YouGov asked respondents to say in their own words why they supported statehood. The top answer — 24% — was that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. 13% said they deserve better representation and nearly 10% said that Puerto Ricans deserve other benefits of statehood. Smaller numbers of respondents said that Puerto Ricans already pay taxes and that they are already Americans.
People born in Puerto Rico have been U.S. citizens since 1917. Supreme Court cases in the early 20th century determined that Congress could legally discriminate against Puerto Rico, but modern ideas reject the possibility of second class U.S. citizens. Residents of Puerto Rico cannot vote in presidential elections and have no senators and no voting members in Congress. As a territory, Puerto Rico is in a colonial relationship with the United States. As a state, Puerto Rico would be equal to the existing states and residents would have the full protection of the U.S. Constitution.
Therefore, statehood is a matter of civil rights for Puerto Rico.
Why does anyone oppose statehood for Puerto Rico?
Asked why they were against statehood, 22% of the respondents to the YouGov survey who opposed statehood explained that they thought Puerto Rico would be a financial burden to the United States. 16% said that the government of Puerto Rico is too corrupt. Some of the other answers given by smaller numbers of respondents included disapproval of colonialism, a preference for the status quo, and concern about taxes.
We can therefore assume that the people opposing statehood include some who favor independence and some who want “commonwealth” as well as those who don’t want to see a 51st state.
Puerto Rico, of course, has voted for statehood three times, with every status vote in this century showing statehood as the winner. Polls and votes alike show that the people of Puerto Rico want statehood and that the people of the United States want them to have it. It’s time for C ingress to take action. Please reach out to your congressional representatives and make sure that they know that you are with the majority, the supporters of statehood for Puerto Rico.