WASHINGTON (CN) – Though the idea is gaining momentum within the Democratic Party, a new poll released Monday shows a majority of Americans are not in favor of making Washington, D.C., the nation’s 51st state.
The Gallup poll shows just 29% of Americans support making the nation’s capital a state, while 64% oppose it. Self-identified Democrats are the most likely to favor statehood for the District, with 39% in favor and 51% opposed.
Just 15% of Republicans support statehood, which would likely add two reliably blue seats to the Senate and one to the House.
Gallup notes there has never been much support for Washington, D.C., statehood, with the proposal hovering between 20 and 31% support in a trio of polls conducted over the past three decades.
Nevertheless, House Democrats have supported making the capital a state since taking over the majority, first endorsing the idea in a sweeping elections reform bill that passed in March.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting representative in the House, has introduced a bill that would make Washington, D.C., a state and the legislation will have a committee hearing this fall.
Norton downplayed the findings of the Gallup poll in a statement Monday, saying many people are still ill-informed about the issue and that the movement for statehood is still in its early stages.
“Because the D.C. statehood bill has not been close to passage until now, we have only begun to nationalize our fight for statehood,” Norton said. “Congress has often acted to right historical wrongs before polls showed that the American public was on board.”
Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., has introduced a companion bill in the Senate that would make Washington a state, though no such bill is likely to pass with Republicans in control of the chamber.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has also come out in favor of statehood, penning an op-ed in the Washington Post in May saying he would “be proud” to pass a statehood bill.