Puerto Rico also held non-binding referendums in 1967, 1993 and 1998, with statehood never garnering a clear majority and independence never obtaining more than 5 percent of the vote.

In a poll this month, local newspaper El Nuevo Dia found that a very slim majority favored the current political status. On the second question, the preference for statehood topped sovereign free association. Few said they favor independence.

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Associated Press reporter Ben Fox in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed to this report.

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