Puerto Ricans, Cubans and the Florida Presidential Vote


It’s time to pay closer attention to politics. The November general election is fewer than 100 days away. The Hispanic vote is not so much up for grabs, but a slice of it is. Let me explain, and I’ve said this many times before – the Cuban-American vote will be decisive in who wins Florida in the presidential election.

If you’re Puerto Rican, as I am, you may not want to hear it, but listen up. Puerto Ricans in Florida have more eligible voters, but Cuban Americans do one thing different. They vote.

“Cuban- Americans are still the most represented at the polls,” according to “Florida: Deep-Dive on the Cuban Vote,” by Equis Research published last month in Medium.  

This is a simplified, condensed version of the the article’s key points – thanks to a friend for sending the article (you know who you are). 

Puerto Ricans are more reliably Democrat, about 60 percent or so. But Puerto Rican turnout is always a big question mark. The key is to get Puerto Ricans to the polls. If you get enough Puerto Ricans to vote, you can move the needle more toward Democrats, bearing in mind that a chunk of Puerto Ricans – 30 to 40 percent – vote Republican each time. An increasing number of Puerto Rican registered voters, about 35 percent to 40 percent, do not identify with any political party (NPA). 

Meanwhile, Equis Research indicates Trump has “locked down” his share of the Cuban vote.  “Cuban voters are the rare demographic (anywhere in the country) with which Donald Trump has improved since 2016.” He got 54 percent of Florida’s Cuban vote in 2016. 

However, the nuances of the Cuban vote are intriguing, leaving the door slightly open for Joe Biden.   According to Equis, Biden may have the most success appealing to Cubans who arrived after 1993 (the the wet foot-dry foot Clinton years). This group voted for Barack Obama, but has since swung toward the GOP. This is the swing portion of the Cuban vote considered most “gettable” for Biden. 

The task for Democrats is twofold: Pump up the turnout among Puerto Ricans, most of whom are concentrated along the I-4 corridor, and swing for post-1993 Cuban voters.

“The research suggests it is not too late for Biden to cross the 40% threshold of support with Cuban voters.” 

˜˜María Padilla, Editor

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