Sixty-six percent of Americans said they favor granting statehood to the Caribbean territory. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
July 18 (UPI) -- While most Americans have consistently opposed making Washington, D.C., an official state, a new survey Thursday showed a good majority do favor giving Puerto Rico statehood.
Gallup said the results of its poll showed 66 percent, two in three Americans, said they favor admitting the Caribbean island, which is presently a U.S. territory. The figure is in line with the average since Gallup first began asking the question in 1962. Twenty-seven percent opposed statehood for the island, and 7 percent gave no opinion.
Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans said they support making Puerto Rico a state.
Puerto Ricans have supported multiple referendums on the topic over the years. Two years ago, 97 percent favored statehood.
Puerto Rico, annexed by the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, has some autonomy and functions in certain ways as a state. However, its residents don't pay federal taxes and can't vote in presidential elections.
"Puerto Rico's status has been debated for decades both among Puerto Ricans themselves and mainland Americans, who haven't seen a new state admitted in 60 years," Gallup said in its research. "What complicates the territory's path to statehood now is not U.S. public opposition, but rather a series of political events that have unfolded in San Juan and Washington."
Puerto Rico has had a contentious relationship with the Trump administration since Hurricane Maria swept through in 2017, mainly over federal relief aid.
Americans' support for Puerto Rico statehood clash with their views on the same question for Washington, D.C. Gallup said in a survey this week 64 percent of respondents said "no" when asked if the district should be granted statehood. Just 29 percent favored the idea.
Gallup's poll Thursday surveyed more than 1,000 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of 4 points.