Phil Tignino Published on 12 January 2012
Category: English in the News
by Bob Vandervoort
The liberal Daily Kos website has posted results from two different polls on Puerto Rico’s political status. One is from Puerto Rico’s main newspaper, El Nuevo Dia and the other isfrom the Puerto Rican TV station WAPA. The polling results show that 59% of Puerto Ricans chose an option other than statehood, versus 41% who prefer becoming a U.S. State. The status referendum is scheduled for November 6, 2012.
There are three things to take away from these results, which the Daily Kos interpreted incorrectly. First, the polls are focused only on the second question in the two-part referendum. The second question asks which type of legal status is preferred, excluding the current Commonwealth status: 1) independence 2) statehood or 3) “free association” – which would be a new form of commonwealth status still to be defined.
The more important first question of the referendum asks whether or not Puerto Ricans want to change their status at all, and this question was not polled. Therefore, these polls are not a reliable gauge of Puerto Rican political sentiment. Second, the “Sovereign Commonwealth” option was used by the pro-statehood party in order to confuse voters. “Sovereign Commonwealth” is not the status quo (Commonwealth), it is really the “free association” status option. Third, the polling that was conducted shows that 20% of Puerto Ricans are still undecided, and the undecideds are still a large block of voters in Puerto Rico that could swing the referendum either way.
Remember, Fortuno signed into the law the rigged version of the referendum that the U.S. Congress rejected in 2010, which allows only a plurality, rather than a clear majority, to prevail and excludes the Commonwealth option from the second round altogether.
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