Support for D.C. statehood is sharply partisan in Maryland, with about 6 in 10 Democrats favoring the idea compared with just over 3 in 10 Republicans. That might reflect the prospect that the deep-blue District would, as a state, almost certainly elect two new Democrats to the Senate.
However, the poll suggests Marylanders of all political views are more supportive of D.C. statehood than in the country overall. A narrow 51 percent majority of state residents favor making the District a separate state, compared with 40 percent who are opposed.
By contrast, a June Gallup poll found that 29 percent of Americans overall support D.C. statehood, compared with 64 percent opposed.
The Maryland results appeared to support the view of some statehood advocates that people who are most familiar with the District — such as those who live next door — are more supportive of statehood.
Residents of Maryland’s D.C. suburbs favor statehood by 64 percent to 28 percent. Support is lower in Baltimore City and its suburbs, where the margin is 49 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. Support falls to 42 percent in other parts of the state.
Supporters said in response to follow-up questions that they supported statehood to give D.C. residents full representation in Congress. At present, they can vote for president, but have no senators and only a nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives. They also noted that the District has more residents than Wyoming and Vermont.
“It’s pretty ridiculous that it has a larger population than two states, with no representation,” said Hannah Walter, who lives in Montgomery County.
“When you’re closer to it, and you see how [lack of representation] has impacted things like education in the District, and legalization of marijuana and the budget . . . [statehood] is not this far-fetched, crazy idea. It’s more of a necessity,” she said.
Ivanlee Jackson, who lives in Prince George’s, said D.C. residents deserve congressional representation because they pay federal taxes. “It doesn’t make any sense . . . if the Constitution means anything,” Jackson said. “What was ‘no taxation without representation’?”
District Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who recently intensified efforts to win statehood, welcomed the poll’s results.
“When our fellow Americans know the full story of Washington, D.C.... Americans will support making Washington, D.C. the 51st state,” Bowser said in an emailed statement. “Our neighbors in Maryland know that by recognizing the rights promised to us in the U.S. Constitution, we would be building not only a stronger D.C., but a stronger region. That’s why we will continue to teach more Americans about our plight until we make it right.”
Statehood opponents, however, expressed concern about adding two Democratic senators and about corruption scandals among some D.C. elected officials in recent years.
“I’m pretty moderate, but I assume that the [District] senators would be probably very liberal,” said Etzion Brand, who lives in Baltimore City.
“Why change something that isn’t broken?” said Esequiel Castillo of Howard County. He added that he was concerned that the District was “kind of like a portal for corruption,” referring to local officials there.
Self-identified Democrats in Maryland support statehood by 63 percent to 30 percent. Those results are reversed for Republicans, with 31 percent in favor and 59 percent opposed. Independents favor statehood by 50 percent to 41 percent.
The Gallup national poll in June found lower support among each partisan group, peaking at 39 percent of Democrats and falling to 15 percent of Republicans.
The Post-U. Md. poll finds Marylanders oppose making the District a new county in their state, a plan called “retrocession,” by 57 percent to 36 percent. There is little variation depending on political party, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents all opposed.
“You’re talking about people who have been on their own,” said Polly Easton of Baltimore County. “They have their unique needs and wants. I don’t think it’s fair to just lump them in with someone else and say, ‘Now we’ve fixed the problem.’ ”
Other findings from the poll include:
● 58 percent of Marylanders support making Puerto Rico a separate state, a figure that is slightly lower than 66 percent in the United States overall in the recent national Gallup poll.
● 76 percent of Marylanders support giving the District a full voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republicans favor this option by 54 percent to 38 percent. Support rises to 76 percent among independents and 90 percent for Democrats.
● Support for D.C. statehood varies depending on arguments for and against. The survey asked Marylanders to react to five common arguments for why the District should or should not become a separate state:
At the high end, when given the argument that D.C. residents pay federal taxes, 67 percent of Marylanders said they favor the District becoming a state.
At the low end, 41 percent supported D.C. statehood after being told “some D.C. elected officials have had corruption scandals in recent years.”
The prospect of Democrats gaining two Senate seats sharpens partisan divisions on the issue. Democratic support for statehood grows to 87 percent, up 24 points from their support of statehood overall, while Republican support drops from 31 percent to 17 percent.
The poll was conducted by The Post and the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement from Oct. 9 to Oct. 14, among a random sample of 860 residents of Maryland. Interviews were conducted by live interviewers, and 60 percent were interviewed on cellphones and 40 percent on landlines. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Emily Guskin contributed to this report.