Over 65 percent of Americans support statehood for Puerto Rico, Gallup has found, a figure that remains largely unchanged for decades.
The poll shows that two-thirds of Americans, or 66 percent more precisely, support statehood for the U.S. territory, among which the majority are Democrats (83 percent) and voters between 18 and 29 years of age (80 percent).
According to Gallup support for the island’s statehood has hovered between 59 percent and 65 percent since 1962, CNN informs.
However, despite high and consistent support from the American public, Puerto Rico statehood is a challenging issue. Granting the island statehood would require legislation that has to pass Congress where Republicans are far less open to the idea of declaring Puerto Rico a U.S. state.
The latest Gallup poll shows that 48 percent of Republicans oppose statehood for Puerto Rico while another 45 percent support it. Last September, President Donald Trump likewise said he was against granting statehood to the U.S. territory.
Within Puerto Rico support for statehood is very high, with 97 percent voting in favor of it in 2017, turnout at the referendum was meager 23 percent, putting in question the likelihood of any meaningful action.
Puerto Rico has officially been a U.S. commonwealth since 1952 due to which Puerto Ricans do not have a vote in Congress. Being U.S. citizens, they have the right to vote in presidential elections, but not in general ones.
Calls for Puerto Rico statehood intensified in 2018 after several hurricanes devastated the island and President Trump refused to grant additional relief funding to it, arguing that “inept politicians” are using the hurricane relief funds to “pay off other obligations.”