Florida’s Puerto Rican Voters

Once again in this presidential election year, Florida is a battleground state. 270toWin.com calls it “the ultimate battleground state” — and, as of this writing, “a toss-up.” Every vote in recent elections has been nearly 50/50, and in every vote except the 1992 Clinton election Florida has voted with the winner.

But the voters in Florida have changed since the last presidential election. Florida is now home to more than one million Puerto Ricans, the largest Puerto Rican population in any state.

Latino voters

32 million Latino voters will be eligible to vote in the 2020 election.  This is the second largest demographic in the United States, after non-Hispanic white voters, and just slightly larger than the pool of eligible Black voters.

In Florida, more than 20% of eligible voters are Latino. Florida also has the largest number of Puerto Rican voters in the States.

While Latino voters as a group tend to vote Democratic, they also support Trump more than might be expected. And Latino voters might be a group, but they are not a voting bloc.

Puerto Rican Voters

There is a persistent idea that Puerto Ricans will support Democratic candidates over Republican ones. However, the political parties in Puerto Rico are not divided in that way. Instead, the parties represent the three possible status options: statehood, continued territorial status, and independence.

A 2019 poll of Puerto Rican voters in Florida showed that those surveyed showed similar proportions of preferences as in most polls:

  • 57% favored statehood.
  • 26% preferred “Commonwealth.” 
  • 6% chose independence.

The Republican Party is formally associated with statehood in Puerto Rico, while the Democratic Party has members associated with statehood, independence and the “commonwealth” option.

A 2019 poll taken in New York among Puerto Rican voters found that 65% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans, and 67% of Independent voters (self-identified) supported statehood.

Florida voters in midterm elections backed statehood supporters rather than a particular mainland political party.

Puerto Rican voters also tend to be socially conservative.

Campaigning

Both Democrats and Republicans are likely to woo Puerto Rican voters in Florida in the run-up to the election. The status issue can be expected to be a part of the conversation.

6 Comments

randerson43

With all due respect to the Puerto Rican citizens not living in Puerto Rico, you need to be more concerned about who is in the White House than about the status of P.R. The people who live on the island should be the ones making that decision. I hope one day we will be able to finally agree on a direction for the island. My vote right this minute would be for statehood, if for no other reason than to have representative voting power in the House of Representatives and the Senate. I am positive that there would be problems, but nothing that couldn’t be resolved.

generoman

Mr. R Anderson offers a provocative explanation about status and the presidential election.

Here in NY, we have a peculiar species of elected official. They live, breathe and advocate for their issues as statehooders, but fight to maintain the colony on the Island.

The list includes: Melissa Mark Viverito and Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Luis Miranda, Nydia Velazquez, Luis Gutierrez, Lin Manuel Miranda and others. They have enriched themselves professionally as statehooders with their success in politics, government, entertainment, philanthropy and religion (Robert Gonzalez, OFM) and higher education (Center for Puerto Rican studies at Hunter College and CUNY Chancellor).

All of this while our family and friends who have chosen to stay on the Island, or cannot leave, struggle with access to health care, housing, education and food as U.S. citizens.

We have a new cadre of leaders like the democratic candidate for Congress, Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, who are pushing back against the self-serving arguments of the above.

Dennis Freytes

Commonwealth or ELA-Free Associated State are NOT Constitutional options, but, fool People as to the true Constitutional status of Puerto Rico which is– US Territory. Stop using Commonwealth or ELA-Free Associated State as an option because it is not!

Dennis Freytes

Commonwealth or ELA-Free Associated State are NOT Constitutional options, but, fool People as to the true Constitutional status of Puerto Rico which is– US Territory under the undemocratic control of the Federal Government. Stop using Commonwealth or ELA-Free Associated State as an option because it is not! FIX: The Federal Government provides–Puerto Ricans EQUALITY+PROGRESS=STATEHOOD with Dignity!

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