Osceola

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Did Latinos Vote for Donald Trump?

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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

Fresh Faces Win Central Florida Congressional Races

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State Rep. Darren Soto is the first Puerto Rican from Florida to be elected to Congress.

Central Florida will send a number of fresh faces to Congress come January. All are Democrats.

They include State Rep. Darren Soto, who will represent Congressional District 9 and is the first Puerto Rican from Florida to head to Congress, a symbol of the growing Puerto Rican electorate. In addition, former Orlando police chief Val Demings will head Congressional District 10 and newcomer Stephanie Murphy pulled a major upset in Congressional District 7.

It is the most diverse congressional delegation that Central Florida has ever seen – thanks to the Fair Districts constitutional amendment championed by the League of Women Voters and others and that took years of litigation to implement.

Once in place, it changed the gerrymandered district lines away from Republicans to more fairly represent Democrats in those areas.

The Biggest Upset

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Stephanie Murphy

The biggest coup belonged to Stephanie Murphy, who won District 7 held by 12-term Republican Cong. John Mica, who complained of millions of dollars of “outside money” being poured into the district to defeat him. Certainly that is true; over $4 million was spent on behalf of Murphy.

But the redrawn district also picked up parts of Orange and Volusia counties, ending Mica’s 22 years of landslide GOP victories. In fact, Mica won Seminole County with 52 percent of the vote, but lost Orange County by about 20,000 votes.

As surprising and just as revealing, Donald Trump won “reliably red” Seminole by just 3,654 votes or 1.6 percentage points.

As political analyst Rick Fogelsong repeated earlier and on Election Night, “Seminole County is turning purple.”

Local Races

In state races:

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Víctor Torres and Amy Mercado.

State Rep. Víctor Torres (D) won State Senate District 15, previously held by Soto and which covers Osceola and parts of Orange and Polk counties.

• Amy Mercado (D) was the victor in State House District 48 in Orange County. Mercado and Torres are the first father-daughter and Hispanic team to go to Tallahassee.

• John Cortés (D) was re-elected to State House District 43, representing Osceola County.

• Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) will head up State House District 49, which covers Orange County.

• Bob Cortés (R) retained State House District 30, which includes parts of Orange and Seminole.

• René Plasencia (R) captured State House District 50, covering Brevard and Orange counties.

Orange County

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Emily Bonilla

Emily Bonilla also pulled a surprise 57 percent upset against incumbent Ted Edwards for a seat on the Orange County Commission, District 5.  Edwards was weakened by his support of a massive housing development east of the Econlockhatchee River, for years considered the line in the sand for protecting east Orange County’s fragile ecosystem.

Bonilla becomes the first Latina – and Puerto Rican – since Mildred Fernández to be on the Orange County Commission. Fernández was convicted on charges of illegal campaign contributions in 2012 and was sent to state prison. She cannot run for public office again.

Osceola County

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José Alvarez

For the first time, Kissimmee’s fast-growing Hispanic population elected a Latino to be its mayor. José Alvarez earned a resounding victory over Art Otero, 63 percent vs. 37 percent, ending a very  contentious campaign that centered on whether Puerto Ricans would elect Cuban-American Alvarez over Puerto Rican Otero. They opted for Alvarez.

And despite being trailed by controversy early in his tenure as Osceola County Clerk of the Court, Armando Ramirez won re-election with 62 percent of the vote.

Watch Orlando Latino for more 2016 elections coverage.  

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Half of Florida Has Already Voted

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Half of Florida has voted, but mail-in ballots continue to pour in and Election Day is still to come.

Half of Florida has voted, according the the latest figures by the state Division of Elections.

One of every three Florida voters or 30 percent cast an early ballot or nearly 4 million people, while another 20 percent have voted by mail  thus far. Mail-in ballots continue to flow in as, the deadline to receive these votes is 5 p.m. on Election Day.

The Division of Election figures include the two-week early voting period, ended Sunday, November 6.

The breakdown by political party indicates Democrats dominated early voting with 1.6 million votes statewide, while Republicans tallied 1.4 million early votes. 

In vote by mail, the Republicans have so far amassed a little over 1 million votes, while Democrats aren’t far behind with 980,427 votes.

NPA or no party affiliated voters are leaving a big mark and may very well decide the elections. About  800,000 voted early and another 500,000 have voted by mail, for a total of 1.2 million votes.

How the Tri-County Area Voted

Here’s a look at how Central Florida voted early county by county:

Orange

Early vote

Rep.  71,308

Dem. 118,242

NPA   60,251

TOTAL   255,112

Osceola

Early vote

Rep. 15, 566

Dem. 30,479

NPA 16,063

TOTAL 63,256 

Seminole

Early vote 

Rep. 42, 991

Dem. 38,942

NPA 24,760

TOTAL 109,269 

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Early Voting Is Breaking Records

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Voters chat outside the Hoffner Avenue library early voting site in Orange County while others wait in line to cast their ballots. /Maria Padilla

Early voting is breaking records in Florida. And we still have one day to go.

“Seminole County already has more votes cast than were cast in the much-remembered 2000 presidential election.  Amazing,” stated Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel in a voting update.

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Sign outside Hoffner library early voting site. However, voters said the line was moving fast. /Maria Padilla 

As of Saturday morning, nearly 6 million people voted in all of Florida, or roughly 46 percent of registered voters, according to the state Division of Elections. The early vote is expanding and is ahead of mail-in ballots by almost 1 million.

Early Voting Split

Democrats and Republicans are about evenly split among early voters statewide. However,  no party affiliation or NPA – 626,000 votes thus far – is pulling the early vote numbers ahead of mail-in ballots.

As for political parties, Orange and Osceola counties favor Democrat voters in terms of registration and voting.

Meanwhile, in Republican-leaning Seminole, Democrats are drawing closer to the GOP  in numbers. But NPA voters likely will decide the outcome of many Seminole races.

Seminole Turning Purple?

Rollins College professor and political analyst Rick Fogelsong stated earlier this week, “Seminole County is turning purple,” meaning it may turn into a swing-vote county.

In the Orlando area, the early vote is shaping up as follows :

Orange

Early – 202,240, Democrats are about 47 percent, Republicans 29 percent, NPA  23 percent

Mail – 139,166; Democrats are about 45 percent, Republicans 33 percent, NPA 20 percent

TOTAL VOTES CAST – 341,406

Voter participation rate: 48 percent 

Osceola

Early – 50,332; Democrats are about 49 percent, Republicans 26 percent, NPA  24 percent

Mail – 40,108; Democrats are about 46 percent, Republicans 29 percent, NPA 23 percent 

TOTAL VOTES CAST – 90, 440

Voter participation rate: NA

Seminole

Early – 89,120; Republicans are 40 percent, Democrats 36 percent, NPA 22 percent

Mail – 56,140;  Republicans are about 45 percent, Democrats are 34 percent, NPA 45 percent

TOTAL VOTES CAST– 145, 260 

Voter participation rate: 50 percent

Visit Orlando Latino on Monday for the final early-vote tally. Remember, mail-in voting continues through Election Day.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor