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May 4, 1999

Puerto Rico status referendum failed to accurately reflect Puerto Rican voter sentiment, Zogby International poll shows

In a December 13, 1998, referendum to determine the future political status of Puerto Rico, 46.6% of the more than 1.5 million voters chose statehood with the United States while a bare majority (50.2%) of votes were cast for a vague column on the ballot labeled "none of the above."

A new poll of 804 likely Puerto Rican voters conducted April 19-20 by Zogby International for the Puerto Rico Herald, reveals that many voters in December were either confused or angry at the timing of the referendum.

The poll has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.6%.

Of the respondents surveyed who said they selected the "none of the above" choice on the ballot in December, 37% said their vote was for support of "another definition of Commonwealth," yet nearly 40% said they chose the "none of the above" column for such reasons as anger at the vote being held during the Christmas holiday season, anger over the devastation of Hurricane George, anger over telephone privatization or anger at Governor Pedro Rosello.

The survey also shows that more than 42% of all those who voted in the December referendum, including 50% of those voters between the ages of 30 and 49, said the choices on the ballot were not clear, while only 19% judged the choices very clear.

Pollster John Zogby: "When you consider the number of people who voted for the "none of the above" ballot, and the number of people who voted in protest, then combine these with the number of people who were simply confused by the text, the results show the referendum shouldn't count."

While there currently is controversy over the results of the referendum, when the Zogby pollsters asked "If another referendum were held today, and the choices were Commonwealth, statehood or independence…," 46.9% of the voters polled said they would vote for statehood, while 36.8% would vote for Commonwealth. In addition, 56.7% of those surveyed said their position toward statehood would be more favorable if a majority of the U.S. Congress were to demonstrate strong support.

Further information is available by contacting the Puerto Rico Herald at

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