By : FRANCES RYAN
Edition: July 9, 2009 | Volume: 37 | No: 27
Backing for 51st state edges ahead with 51%; Commonwealth support falls below 40%; 94% of Puerto Ricans have a specific status favorite
Statehood has gained ground to become the preferred solution to Puerto Rico’s status issue by a slight majority, according to this week’s CARIBBEAN BUSINESS / WOSO Radio / Gaither International InstaPoll, which consisted of 601 face-to-face interviews in June. The sample, smaller than the weekly Gaither poll of 1,000 face-to-face interviews, has a statistical margin of error of ±4%.
When asked specifically about status preference, 51% of respondents cited statehood as their preferred option, an increase when compared with the results of a similar survey conducted in 2007.
On the other hand, 39% of respondents said they favor the current Commonwealth or Associated Free State of Puerto Rico status (Estado Libre Asociado or ELA by its Spanish acronym), a lower percentage than noted in the previous poll.
Gaither’s December 2007 Political Insight Study had revealed Puerto Rico residents were pretty evenly split between statehood (47%) and Commonwealth (46%). The June 2009 numbers clearly show a modest gain in statehood support and a sharper decline among respondents favoring Commonwealth.
This summer’s InstaPoll found independence was cited by only 4% of respondents as their status preference. This percentage has been somewhat constant in the past few years.
An interesting result from the latest InstaPoll is that 94% of respondents had a clear status preference. Only 6% didn’t mention any alternative, “probably because they don’t have a status preference,” explained Beatriz Castro, research analyst with Gaither International.
Status Preferences Chart
Furthermore, Castro continued, history has shown many voters lose interest in politics after a general election and/or become reluctant to talk about politics for a period. The last general election was in November.
The statehood-supporting New Progressive Party (NPP) won the governorship by a landslide and tightened its control of the Legislature in the November vote. The Commonwealth-supporting Popular Democratic Party (PDP) was hobbled by the federal indictment of its gubernatorial candidate, then-Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, internal rifts over the future of commonwealth and the local economy.
The poll noted the key division among commonwealth supporters were those who want to stay with the current status, which made up the vast majority, while those who want an enhanced or sovereign ELA accounted for 6%.
The Gaither analyst said the PDP had effectively managed to attract many “pro-independence” supporters.
“By now, it may be reasonably speculated that many independence advocates want to support a sovereign ELA. That would explain the low 4% choosing the independence option as its preferred status choice, meaning, those who support either independence or a sovereign ELA totals 10%,” Castro said.
The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) temporarily lost its State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish abbreviation) certification as an official party after its dismal showing in the 2008 elections. Under the island’s electoral law, political parties must get 3% of the straight votes under the insignia, or 5% of the gubernatorial vote, to retain official standing with the CEE.
In both cases, after the November elections, the PIP was able to collect and submit to the CEE the nearly 100,000 signatures required for recertification. It rejoined the NPP and PDP on the CEE roster.
Original Article: http://www.caribbeanbusinesspr.com/news02.php?nw_id=1796&ct_id=26