Barely a quarter of Americans think the District of Columbia deserves to be a state, according to the results of poll released today by Rasmussen Reports. But opponents of DC statehood shouldn’t grin that only 25 percent of people think the District deserves taxation with representation. The poll is rather skewed.
Rasmussen, which queried 1,000 voters from Sept. 23-24, is known for its rightward slant, and Republicans are generally less inclined than Democrats to support DC statehood. But more important here is the question’s loaded wording.
Rasmussen asked: “The US Constitution designates the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, as a federal district and not a state. Should Washington, DC be a state?” In other words, the poll asked people if they had the nerve to tinker with the Constitution. Most did not, though had the question been limited to District residents barely a week before the start of a potential federal government shutdown that could close down DC’s local services, the numbers might have swung the other way.
The statehood question had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, and was part of a larger poll asking voters about whether the United States needs more states. The survey’s full results are behind a paywall, but the poll does no favors for statehood movements elsewhere around the country, such as the movement of counties in southern Oregon and northern California to form a new state called Jefferson. Only 12 percent of respondents said adding more states would be a good idea.