Did Latinos Vote for Donald Trump?


early-vote-line-hoffner

An early voting line at the Hoffner library in Orange County. /Maria Padilla

Did Latinos vote for Donald Trump? And by what margin?

Pollsters are having a food fight trying to answer that question. Expectations were high that Latinos would vote against Trump in large numbers and this would be a major factor in Hillary Clinton’s supposed victory.

Well, high numbers of Hispanics did vote and Clinton won the popular vote.

Bit Hispanic pollsters, political analysts and others have taken umbrage at the exit-poll suggestion that 29 percent of Latinos nationwide voted for Trump, stating the number is too high.

But it’s plausible.

Not Monolithic

Latinos are a mosaic of political interests and persuasions, owing to the complex demographic make-up of Hispanics – 16 or so different ethnicities, foreign-born vs. U.S. born, newcomers vs. fourth- and fifth-generation Hispanic, Spanish speakers vs. non-Spanish speakers, and more. Frankly, the nuances maintain afloat Republicans’ hope that the party can capture a chunk of the Latino vote.

In comparison, the African American vote is more monolithic and reliably Democrat. Only 9.4 percent of the U.S. black population is foreign-born, according to the census. But the Latino foreign-born population is four times that.

Of course, faith in polling went kerplunk this election cycle. Exactly how Latinos voted won’t be clear until the census provides a glimpse of presidential voting patterns based on race, gender, ethnicity and more, according to the Pew Research Center. But that is a long way off.

Numbers Crunching

Meantime, here are a few numbers-crunching nuggets – yes, based on election day and exit polls, as well as actual voting data – with a specific look at Florida.

Nugget No. 1: A lower percentage of Florida Latinos supported Clinton, versus other states.

In the Univision pre-election November poll of Latinos in Florida, Arizona and Nevada, 60 percent of Florida Latinos said they planned to vote for Clinton, the lowest percentage of the three states. Nevada polled at 72 percent, while Arizona was 67 percent. The Florida voter exit poll numbers, part of state and national exit polls conducted by a consortium of news organizations, were close.

In the Florida voter exit poll Latinos voted 62 percent for Clinton, while 35 percent went for Trump. Or, just slightly higher than the Univision poll predicted.

Puerto Ricans and Cubans

Nugget No. 2: Puerto Ricans and Cubans polled – and voted – distinctly different.

According to the Univision poll, about 71 percent of Puerto Ricans said they planned to vote for Clinton while only 42 percent of Cubans planned to do so. Meanwhile, 49 percent of Cubans planned to cast a ballot for Trump, versus only 19 percent for Puerto Ricans.

univision-fla-by-heritage

The exit poll of Florida voters showed a close correlation: 41 percent of Cubans voted for Clinton, while 71 percent of “other Latino” – presumably mostly Puerto Rican – supported Clinton. 

Miami-Dade vs. Osceola

How did Puerto Ricans and Cubans actually vote?

Using Osceola and Miami-Dade counties as proxies  – Puerto Ricans are the majority or plurality of Hispanics in Osceola, while Cubans are in Miami-Dade –  about 60.4 percent of Osceola voted for Clinton, while 63.6 percent did so in Miami-Dade, according to state Division of Elections results.

Why is the figure higher in Miami-Dade?

Very likely because the liberal non-Hispanic white vote boosted Clinton in Miami-Dade, while the opposite is true in Osceola, where non-Hispanic whites tend to be more conservative.

Rubio Breakdown

Nugget No. 3: Cubans and non-Hispanic whites pushed Sen. Marco Rubio over the top.

Looking at the breakdown in the Marco Rubio vote, both Osceola and Miami-Dade voted against the incumbent Republican U.S. senator, by nearly equal percentages, according to the state Division of Elections.

In Osceola 54.5 percent voted for Democrat Patrick Murphy, while in Miami-Dade 54.6 percent did so, according to state elections data.

In the Florida exit poll, 50 percent of Latinos voted for Murphy, while 48 percent supported Rubio.

But the split along Hispanic ethnic lines was stark.

The Florida exit poll showed that 68 percent of Cubans voted for Rubio, while just 39 percent of “other Latinos” did. Among non-Hispanic whites, 60 percent voted for Rubio.

This suggests that Cubans were more united in support of Rubio but more fragmented or divided for Clinton. Cubans and non-Hispanic whites boosted Rubio’s re-election, making up for his loss among Latinos in general – a loss likely pulled down by Puerto Rican voters. Otherwise, it would have been a slam dunk for the Cuban-American senator.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

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