Should D.C. be its own state? A new Gallup poll finds that 64% of Americans say no.
In a survey, more than half of participants across every category — gender, race, age group, education level, political party and ideology — said they would oppose the move to grant statehood to nation’s capital.
Democrats and people identifying ideologically as “liberal” were less likely to oppose the idea: 51% of Democrats and 50% of “liberal” people said they wouldn’t be in favor of the idea.
Meanwhile, of Republicans and those identifying as “conservative,” 78% were opposed.
In a statement released Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “The Gallup poll was a missed opportunity. The one question asked lacked any context and failed to say anything about D.C.’s lack of voting representation in Congress.”
Bowser added that the poll was not an accurate reflection of “the growing view among Americans that D.C. residents, including our 30,000 veterans, deserve the same rights enjoyed by all other Americans.”
“What’s happening in D.C. — taxation without representation — is a civil rights injustice that contradicts the democratic principles our nation was founded on,” Bowser said. “This poll only further strengthens our resolve to use the upcoming and historic statehood hearing to ensure the American people understand exactly why we’re seeking statehood.”
The numbers are consistent with previous polls, according to Gallup. A Yankelovich/Clancy/Shulman poll from 1992 found that 57% of people opposed D.C. statehood, and a Washington Post poll from 1989 found that 52% did.
What would D.C. statehood mean?
The issue of D.C. statehood is a politically fraught one, as adding the capital as the 51st state would probably mean increased Democratic representation in Congress.
The proposed legislation has over 200 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.
But the prospects of the bill are dim. The legislation would have to be approved by the Oversight Committee, as well as the House and the Republican-controlled Senate. It would then have to pass President Donald Trump.
In an interview with Fox News last month, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against D.C. statehood, grouping it with what he called the Democrats’ “full-bore socialism.”
Why does D.C. want to be a state?
D.C. has been rallying to be a state for years now, as residents argue they lack full representation. Since 2000, the city’s license plates have even borne a familiar saying: “Taxation without Representation.”
According to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, D.C.’s population outnumbers both Wyoming and Vermont.
But despite its large population, D.C. has no voting representatives in the House or the Senate. The city does select one delegate to the House, but that delegate has no voting privileges on the House floor. He or she may only debate and vote in committees.
WTOP’s Teta Alim contributed to this report.
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