Puerto Rico: Islanders Vote 'No Confidence'

The Puerto Rico Herald completed a survey on the views of island residents. While I’m not familiar with the Herald’s opinion survey expertise, the published findings do largely comport—unfortunately—with what I’ve seen elsewhere.

Summary: The survey shows that Puerto Rican residents: 1) are dramatically pessimistic in terms of the island's economy; 2) see crime and corruption as major problems; 3) show little confidence in Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila; 4) increasingly view statehood as a preferred option; 5) fear the U.S. Congress may restrict travel to the mainland; and 6) hold very conservative social views.

1) The Biggest Problems - When asked to identify the biggest problems facing Puerto Rico, survey respondents were unequivocal in their answers: the economy, crime/drugs and government corruption. Unemployment was the 4th largest concern. Unbelievably, health care, education, roads, and Puerto Rico’s status barely made a blip on the chart.

2) A Dismal Economy - On the issue of the Puerto Rico economy, respondents are gloomy and getting gloomier. Consider these findings:
- 66% say business conditions are bad (vs 44% in Aug.'04)
- 47% say business conditions will worsen in 6 months (vs 5% in Aug.'04)
- 66% say jobs are hard to get (vs 52% in Aug.'04)
- 58% say there will be fewer jobs in 6 months (vs 10% in Aug.'04)
- 25% say their total family income will be lower in 6 months (vs 5% in Aug.'04)
- 42% say they've considered moving to the U.S. mainland

3) An Ineffective Governor - On Anibal Acevedo Vila’s performance as governor, it’s a definitive case of no confidence: 73% say his job performance is fair or poor.

4) Puerto Rico Statehood Gains Support - On the issue of Puerto Rico statehood, the survey found strong and growing support for the option, including:
- 50% vote 'statehood' when given the 3 main options (38% for the status quo and 6% for independence)
- 67% vote 'statehood' if the U.S. Congress sponsors a vote on that option
- 74% vote 'statehood' (+7 pts from ’04) if the choice is between statehood and independence

5) Fear U.S. Immigration Crackdown May Restrict Islanders - On the issue of immigration reform, the survey uncovers a startling concern. Although Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, 34% still believe there’s a chance the U.S. Congress may restrict their movement to the U.S. mainland.

6) Puerto Rico’s Conservative Social Views - On the social issues, the survey found that Puerto Rico residents are quite conservative in their views. For example:
- Only 18% believe that abortion should be legal.
- 85% believe in parental notification for minors having an abortion.
- 91% believe marriage must be between a man and a woman.
- 86% believe prayer should be allowed in the schools.
- 75% believe in allowing the public display of the Ten Commandments.
- 68% favor a U.S. military presence in Puerto Rico.
- 57% favor instituting a system of charter schools.
- 51% favor private school vouchers.
- 95% favor English (along with Spanish) instruction in public schools.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2/23/2007

    Regrettably, Puerto Rico has experience many of the same realities of economic disparity, crime and drug problems, governmental coruption, and other social ills. Indigenous People all across North America face these realities. Our dilemma is to develop a vision, a way to overcome these social concerns. Accountable leadership, we work at it constantly, overcoming the drug problem is hugh concern, especially for the younger generations. Lack of programs, lack of funding, lack of political volition and lack of direction are some of the issues we are facing in our daily lives.