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Thu Nov 8, 2012, 07:27 AM

Under the radar: Puerto Rico votes for Statehood - Major dilemma for Republicans

You may have missed it but 6 months from now it is likely to be a major story.

Both parties have long supported, in their platforms, statehood for Puerto Rico. Up until now it has always been 50/50.

Now 61% want statehood.

For the Democrats it is an obvious big upside, thinking that they have a good chance to win two more Senators. For the Republicans they have painted themselves into a demographic corner. They need to court the Hispanic vote but if they support statehood for Puerto Rico then they immediately add more likely voters for the Democrats. If they fight it then they will only further alienate many Hispanics. Some interests in the Republican Party, like manufacturing interests, may find it in their personal interests to bring PR into full statehood.

Its a win-win for us and a lose-lose for the Republicans.




http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/07/politics/election-puerto-rico/index.html



(CNN) -- In an overshadowed Election Day contest, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum, marking the first time such an initiative garnered a majority.

Puerto Ricans were asked about their desires in two parts. First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous "sovereign free association" and 6% for outright independence.


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Reply Under the radar: Puerto Rico votes for Statehood - Major dilemma for Republicans (Original post)
grantcart Nov 2012 OP
jberryhill Nov 2012 #1
CreekDog Nov 2012 #3
jberryhill Nov 2012 #4
Chan790 Nov 2012 #7
jberryhill Nov 2012 #8
Chan790 Nov 2012 #14
jberryhill Nov 2012 #15
Chan790 Nov 2012 #18
jberryhill Nov 2012 #20
drm604 Nov 2012 #2
grantcart Nov 2012 #6
James48 Nov 2012 #5
genna Nov 2012 #12
James48 Nov 2012 #19
jcgoldie Nov 2012 #21
Scuba Nov 2012 #9
hexola Nov 2012 #10
genna Nov 2012 #11
calico1 Nov 2012 #13
jberryhill Nov 2012 #16
calico1 Nov 2012 #17
grantcart Nov 2012 #22
calico1 Nov 2012 #23

Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 07:52 AM

1. 61% of 54% is 39%, no?

I'm trying to figure out what this "two question" structure really means.

Saying "61% want statehood" in the face of only 54% wanting a change in the status quo doesn't seem to be an accurate characterization of what this vote reflected.

Given that answering the second question was not conditioned on having answered the first one, then to 46% of the voters, the question was in the form of "Would you rather eat bugs or dirt?" since all of the options were among courses of action they didn't want to take in the first place.

So if you put that question to those 46% who don't want to eat bugs OR dirt, I would not characterize it as "a majority of Puerto Ricans want to eat dirt" if that were the result.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 07:58 AM

3. here:

But the results aren't so clear cut. It was a two-part ballot that first asked all voters if they favor the current status as a U.S. territory. Regardless of the answer, all voters then had the opportunity to choose in the second question from three options: statehood, independence or "sovereign free association," which would grant more autonomy to the island of nearly 4 million people.
More than 900,000 voters, or 54 percent, responded "no" to the first question, saying they were not content with the current status.
On the second question, only about 1.3 million voters made a choice. Of those, nearly 800,000, or 61 percent of those expressing an opinion, chose statehood the first majority after three previous referendums on the issue over the past 45 years. Some 437,000 backed sovereign free association and 72,560 chose independence. Nearly 500,000, however, left that question blank.


http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/puerto-rico-vote-endorses-statehood-with-asterisk-1.4200471

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:10 AM

4. The structure of the ballot seems designed to obscure

But 500k leaving it blank is interesting.

It would seem that they avoided a structure of:

Do you want:

(A) status quo
(B) statehood
.
.
.
(x) Other

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:16 AM

7. Not really...

it suggests a strong correlation of being the % of the population that voted for the status quo on the first question; the people already in the minority.

It makes more sense to view the results as distinct events...if the referendum was held as two-staged (vote one day for whether to maintain the status quo, if the vote is for change...vote a second time for what the new status should be.) those people would be the people that would have not shown up to vote the second day.

The opinions of non-voters don't matter electorally.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:23 AM

8. The opinions of non-voters on question 2 do matter

If I ask you "Do you want a sandwich?" and you say "no"; and then if I ask you "Would you want pastrami or olive loaf?" and you say "pastrami"; then the takeaway is not "So you want a pastrami sandwich".

The second question indicates they were clearly capable of asking a multiple choice question, of which an option could have been "no change".

Instead, the second question is a "forced choice" question from which it is, IMHO, dishonest to say "a majority want statehood".

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:43 AM

14. Fine, view the non-votes as votes for "No Change"

They still lost. You can continue to attempt to spin this however you'd like...the largest portion of the electorate voted for statehood, not the status quo.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:50 AM

15. Don't tell me what to think, okay?

That ballot is a trainwreck.

What I'm saying is that the collective intent of the people who voted on that ballot is indeterminate, because it was very poorly designed.

Clearly, you have YOUR plan for the people of Puerto Rico, but I would like to know what it is THEY would prefer.

This ballot doesn't - by consequence of its design - answer that question. You might as well read tea leaves.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 09:56 AM

18. Bad ballot design being what it is...

and I'm not going to argue that wasn't badly designed...the intent of the electorate though is as clear to me here as the Presidential race and not at all indeterminate. More people want a change than the status-quo; more people want statehood than the status-quo, independence or a less-regulated non-independent status. (In that order of preference by-ballot.)

Yes, it takes two questions. No, they should have been presented in two stages and not on a single ballot. Yes, I believe the results are determinate...though as written, it was explicitly not binding.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:04 AM

20. Reminds me of this

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Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 07:54 AM

2. The Republicans will try to find some way to stall this without outright rejecting it.

They'll try to have their cake and eat it to.

To start they will try to avoid the issue altogether. They'll only address it if the Democrats bring it up.

When forced to address it they'll make statements like "We need to go slow on an important decision like this", while subtly (and in some cases not so subtly) throwing out racist dog whistles.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:15 AM

6. The dilemma is that in stalling it they will be creating more ammunition for people criticizing their

overall approach to Hispanics. They will even antagonize conservative Hispanics.

For them its all lose-lose IMO.

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Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:13 AM

5. Statehood would mean

2 Senators, and most likely 5 House members.

That would put it, population wise, about the same as Oklahoma, give or take a hundred thousand people.

The question would become- where do those five House seat come from. Would the House agree to increase from the current 435, or would there be a redistribution from other states to get to 5 ,(or maybe four, if there is a redistribution).


It will be intereseting to see how the Congress wants to answer that question.

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Response to James48 (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:40 AM

12. I'd look forward to seeing the states ratify an constitutional amendment in my lifetime.

What did the states have to do with the Louisiana Purchase?

Has anyone dusted off their history books on the Congressional Record lately?

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Response to James48 (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 10:01 AM

19. From the House:

"
The U.S. Constitution establishes minimum and maximum sizes for the U.S. House of Representatives (Article 1, Section 2).

At a minimum, each state must have at least 1 member, and seats are awarded to states proportionately according to population. Because seats are apportioned according to population, it is difficult to establish the exact minimum number of House members.

As of the 2000 census, Wyoming was the least populous state, with 493,782. They U.S. population at that time was 281,421,906, meaning that if each House district had the same number of people, there would be about 570 members. Since there are only 435 members, we know that House districts vary in population from state to state. Therefore the minimum number allowed by the Constitution is not immediately clear. Within a state, each House district must have an equal population.

House districts must contain at least 30,000 citizens. Based on a U.S. population of 300 million, the maximum size of the House of Representatives would be 10,000 members.

In 1911, Congress passed Public Law 62-5, which limited the size of the House of Representatives to 435 members. The law took effect in 1913.

If it wants to, Congress could change the number of members in the House, provided that the new number is within the minimum and maximum established by the Constitution."

See : http:/clerk.house.gov/member_info/memberfaq.html


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Response to James48 (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:26 AM

21. be right back...

I'm headed out to register fiveforty.com and fivefortyfive.com .... will sell to Nate cheap

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Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:26 AM

9. So the Republicans are stuck between a rock and a hard place because of their own racism ...

... I feel just awful for them. Not.

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Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:31 AM

10. Statehood...or do they just want Obama as President?

I wonder if they would be as interested if Romney won...?

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Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:34 AM

11. Republicans will fight that for all they are worth

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Response to grantcart (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:43 AM

13. This from my niece who lives there:

"Well, there were 2 questions, one was if you were happy with our territorial status, the other one was which option do you prefer: statehood, independence or sovereign commonwealth. On the first question, 'no' won with like 60 something % of the votes and on the second question, statehood won with like 60 something % too. But Obama had stressed on his visit to PR that he would only consider it if the majority of voters decided on it, and more than half of more than half is not exactly it, so I have no idea what happens now!"

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Response to calico1 (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 08:55 AM

16. Thank you


The ballot was poorly designed, and I find it remarkable that anyone believes there is a clear takeaway from such a clearly flawed set of independent questions.

Among:

(A) status quo
(B) statehood
(C) some form of sovereignty

...there has long been no clear consensus among Puerto Ricans.

This ballot doesn't get anywhere near determining one, and I would like to know who designed it this way and why.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 09:23 AM

17. Okay, another note from my niece...

I asked her this time how she felt and how the feeling was on the island and if it was along party lines. I had mentioned in a few posts that the pro Statehood party is the Republican party there (NPP). The party that supports the current status of Commonwealth is the Democratic party (PDP). So this was what she responded:

"Well, it's as divided as it has been. Maybe the idea of statehood is being embraced a little bit more, but not to the extent where it can actually get to the needed majority. As with everything else it becomes a partisan issue, and the NPP which is the one pushing Statehood just lost the election bad! They lost most of their Senate and Representative races, as well as the mayoral races in 18 towns, so most of the government is now PDP, and I don't see them pushing the statehood subject at all."

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Response to calico1 (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:47 AM

22. Interesting. You should get your niece to join and write an article.


We need more voices from PR.


It is always confusing.


It reminds me of "Yes we have NO bananas"!.



The question still remains a lose lose for Republicans IMO. If they fight it other Hispanics will resent it.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:17 PM

23. I'm sure she'd be flattered.

She is extremely bright and has been since she was a little girl.

But she's got her hands full with an autistic son. And she isn't all that political a person but I thought I would ask for her observations since she lives there and can get a different perspective from any of us.

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