Florida: Deep-Dive on the Cuban Vote

  • Cubans still vote in large numbers. Puerto Ricans have become the largest origin bloc of eligible Hispanic voters in Florida, but Cuban-Americans are still the most represented at the polls. As such, changes in the vote preference of the Cuban electorate have a meaningful effect on statewide results.
  • There is lots of swing and uncertainty in the Cuban vote. Obama (’12) and Clinton (’16) made major inroads into the Cuban vote, but underperformance there doomed Nelson and Gillum (‘18). Equis polling shows Trump has gained among Cubans, an obstacle to Democrats’ efforts to build upon their 2016 coalition.
  • Public polls don’t always pick up shifts in the Cuban vote. A statewide sample of ~150 Hispanic votes isn’t enough to provide breakouts by national origin group, much less report on demographic variables beyond that (such as age, gender, place of birth, or year of arrival). Equis polled 600 Cuban voters in November 2019, in addition to 325 (August) and 162 (December) Cubans in our statewide surveys.
  • Narratives about the Cuban vote based solely on anecdotal data or outdated notions could make for some cringeworthy headlines — and campaign decisions.

1. Trump has already locked down his share of the Cuban vote

2. Democrats have room to grow (and can’t afford not to)

  1. US-Born Cuban-Americans. To find the Democratic base, you have to look at Cuban-Americans born in the US: in November they were -11 on Trump job approval and favored a Democratic nominee by a +7 margin. They also now outnumber the pre-1980 arrivals (aka the historic exile). To repeat: the electorate now includes more Cuban-American voters born in the United States than Cuban voters who arrived during the 50s-70s, even though the latter dominate the popular imagination. Democratic success in Florida starts with maximizing turnout and support in this cohort.
  2. Cuban voters arrived in the 90s onward. For this cohort, we turn to a new section, because….

3. The post-’93 arrivals require more attention

AP Photo/Hans Deryk

4. What’s happened since 2016: Trump, socialism and YouTubers

5. Hialeah as a case study in Cuban vote-switching

6. Voters don’t know much about Joe Biden — or Democrats.

7. What can Democrats do?

That’s all for now

  1. The FIU poll only interviews Cubans in Miami-Dade County, whereas the Equis/Global Strategy Group poll surveyed Cubans across Florida. However, you’d expect less, not more, of a Republican lean on statewide results, given the high concentration of Republicans in Miami.




Creating a better understanding of the Latino electorate

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Creating a better understanding of the Latino electorate

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