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Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

Nearly half of American adults don’t know Puerto Ricans are US citizens

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Updated September 28, 2017 02:42 PM EDT

Approximately half of adult Americans are unaware that people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens like them, according to a new poll.

Fifty-four percent recognized native-born Puerto Ricans are their fellow citizens in the Morning Consult survey released Tuesday.

Forty-six percent, however, were unaware that such Puerto Ricans are American citizens due to the island’s status as a U.S. territory.

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Tuesday’s findings follow Hurricane Maria’s recent ravaging of Puerto Rico, an event which left more than three million Americans there struggling to meet their basic needs.

Some Twitter users on Wednesday voiced outrage over the poll’s results and what they may illuminate about the current crisis in Puerto Rico.

Morning Consult also found that 64 percent think Puerto Rico should receive additional government aid following Maria’s landfall there.

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Fourteen percent believe such assistance is unnecessary for rebuilding the commonwealth, and 20 percent are uncertain or have no opinion.

Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections as their island is not a state, but they do send one nonvoting representative to America’s Congress.

Maria struck Puerto Rico last week as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 16 people and leaving most of the island’s 3.4 million residents without power.

The storm was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in roughly a century, and the full scope of its devastation could take weeks or even months to measure.

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters at the White House that he plans on visiting Puerto Rico in a week’s time.

“They’ll be back,” he said of Puerto Ricans. “[They] are important to all of us. [Puerto Rico] was hit as hard as you could hit.”

Morning Consult conducted its latest survey of 2,200 U.S. adults via online interviews from Sept. 22-24. It did not provide a margin of error.

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