A record number of Senate Democrats may support a 51st state, but the DC statehood bill is still going nowhere fast without filibuster reform that would amend the 60 vote requirement. And beyond the halls of Congress, DC may still have a way’s to go when it comes to popular opinion too. In Rasmussen’s latest nationwide poll, 55 percent of respondents said they were against DC statehood. Twenty-nine percent were in favor and 16 percent weren’t sure.
As WAMU editor Martin Austermuhle points out on Twitter, the wording of the question may have been leading. Pollsters asked: “The U.S. Constitution designates the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., as a federal district and not a state. Should Washington, D.C. be a state?” Meanwhile, the same poll offered a more straightforward question about another unrepresented jurisdiction: “Should Puerto Rico be a state?”
Other polls in recent months have offered a more promising outlook. A poll released in September from Data for Progress and YouGov Blue, for example, found 43 percent of respondents supported DC statehood—up from 35 percent in 2019, primarily thanks to Democrats—and 34 percent were opposed. Meanwhile, a New York Times/Sienna College poll from the fall found a 59-29 percent split in favor. A Lake Research survey around the same time found a 49-22 percent split also in favor.