While two-thirds of District residents said they supported incorporating D.C. as a state for a 2015 Washington Post poll, nearly the same share of American adults say they oppose it for a newly released Gallup poll. The D.C.-based polling firm surveyed more than 1,000 people by phone in all 50 U.S. states and the District between June 19 and June 30. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they would oppose “making Washington, D.C. a separate state,” just as a pending congressional bill would accomplish, and as the Democratic Party broadly supports.
Only 29 percent of respondents said they would favor D.C. statehood, and 8 percent said they had no opinion. The results are largely in line with past national polls finding that a majority of Americans oppose statehood for the District, which lacks equal voting representation in Congress but whose residents pay the highest federal taxes per capita when compared with states, serve in the military, and tally more than the populations of Vermont and Wyoming.
The results come in advance of the first congressional hearing on D.C. statehood in 26 years. The hearing was originally scheduled for July 24 but has been delayed until the fall due to a conflict with congressional hearings at which former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is set to testify. In 2016, D.C. residents approved statehood through a non-binding referendum that drew support from eight in 10 voters. The District currently has a non-voting delegate—Eleanor Holmes Norton—who can vote at the committee level though not on the House floor.
Additionally, the Gallup poll found that the likelihood of D.C. receiving a Democratic voting representative in the House and two Democratic senators through statehood “may underpin Republican’s reluctance to make it a state.” Views on statehood track with political affiliation.
“No major subgroups of Americans voice support for D.C. statehood. However, support is higher among left-leaning political groups than right-leaning ones. Self-described liberals (40%) and Democrats (39%) are among the groups showing higher support. Republicans (15%) and conservatives (14%) are among the subgroups least supportive. Thirty percent of independents approve of making D.C. a separate state.”
They also track with geopgrahic location, the poll showed. Respondents who resided in the easternmost part of the U.S. had the highest level of support for D.C. statehood: 38 percent.
In a statement Monday, Norton argued that the poll “reinforces our view that the majority of Americans are still unaware that D.C. residents do not have equal representation in their own national government.” “Taxation Without Representation was the rallying cry that founded this nation,” she added, citing civil rights efforts. “It was unjust in 1776 and it still is in 2019.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Muriel Bowser called the poll a “missed opportunity,” saying Monday that the question it posed “lacked any context and failed to say anything about DC’s lack of voting representation in Congress.” “We do not believe [the poll] accurately reflects the growing view among Americans that DC residents, including our 30,000 veterans, deserve the same rights enjoyed by all other Americans,” she added in a statement, also mentioning civil rights.
As Gallup points out in a blog post, D.C. statehood is unlikely to become a reality as long as Democrats do not control the federal government—“something that could not happen until after the 2020 election at the earliest.” The poll’s full responses and data are available here.
This post has been updated with comment from Bowser.