Biden vs. Sanders — Or is it Puerto Ricans vs. Cubans?

Image via Desirée Tapia for The Americano

Sanders could still win the Latino vote in the state over Trump

By Cristy Marrero

March 16, 2020

Tomorrow is Florida’s turn to vote on the Democratic primary. With only two candidates left on the ballot and over 2 million Latinos registered, will its swing state batch hold?

The 2018 primaries showed a Latino electorate more diverse than ever. For once, Puerto Ricans now account for a third of the entire universe of Latino registered voters. That makes one in every five Hispanics in Florida, a Boricua. The other third is Cuban-Americans.

The complexity of this primary for both Sanders and Biden lies in the inclinations of these two majority groups. Puerto Ricans tend to vote Democrat, with a considerable gender gap—women being more democratic than men—according to a recent study by Equis Labs.

On the other hand, Cubans affiliation to the Republican party dates from the 1960s and it is no surprise that more than 50 percent of this cohort supported Trump and voted to elect Governor Ron DeSantis in 2018.

While Biden leads Florida, Sanders could still win the Latino vote in the state over Trump, in November

But what does this mean for Puerto Ricans and Cubans? A new poll conducted by Univision shows that the former vice president has twice as much of a chance to defeat Trump on the battleground state, should he win the nomination.

At the same time, the two biggest electoral groups in Florida have extremely different views on what’s best for the country, with 59 percent of all registered Cuban voters saying they will re-elect Trump in November. Puerto Rican registered voters, on the other hand, say they will support Biden in a general election with an overwhelming 63 percent margin.

According to the poll, Puerto Ricans support Biden three times more than they support Trump. But when it comes to their preference for the Democratic nominee, Latinos in Florida as a whole are divided with a narrow 53 percent support to Biden versus 52 percent in favor of Sanders.

“Unlike Nevada and California, where Sanders was the clear favorite of Hispanic Democrats in Univision polls, Biden has roughly equal support with Sanders among Hispanics in Florida: 48% versus 45% (within the margin of error),” Univision’s survey states.

You can read the complete report on Univision’s poll results here.

Latino Voters By The Numbers

One thing both parties agree on is the importance of the Latino vote in battleground states, such as Florida. Here are some figures to better understand why our vote matters (Source Pew Research Fast Tank 2018):

  • Latino registered voters have increased 6.2% since the 2016 presidential election, to a record 2.1 million people
  • Latinos now make up a record 16.4% of Florida’s registered voters, up from 15.7% in 2016
  • Puerto Ricans now represent nearly a third of Hispanic eligible voters in Florida (31%, versus 31% Cuban, 38% “other”)

While the close margins in Florida may be seen as a political mystery when it comes to polling and predictions, tomorrow’s primary promises to be an interesting one.

As of today, Governor DeSantis hasn’t officially requested a delay in tomorrow’s election. But this is how Coronavirus may affect turnout tomorrow.


CATEGORIES: Florida | Voting


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