The liberal-leaning think tank, Center for American Progress, released this list of data about Florida's Hispanic vote as the nation watches that crucial constituency on the eve of the state's presidential primary. Among the highlights:
- Of the state’s 19 million residents, 18.7 percent of them are foreign born, and 22.5 percent are Latino, making Florida home to the third-largest Latino population in the United States.
- Sixteen percent of all eligible voters in the state are Latino, up from 15 percent, or 1.8 million, in 2010.
The Sunshine State’s Latino vote is complex and does not follow national trends. Cubans make up 32 percent of eligible Latino voters, Puerto Ricans 28 percent, and Mexicans 9 percent. Nationwide the demographics of Latino eligible voters are starkly different: 59 percent Mexican, 14 percent Puerto Rican, and 5 percent Cuban.
Thirty-one percent of the state’s registered Latino voters are Republicans, while 38 percent are Democrats. Twenty-nine percent of registered Latino voters in Florida hold no party affiliation and 2 percent are registered with another party. The party affiliation among Florida’s Latinos is a serious departure from national trends, where a higher percentage of Latinos identify with the Democratic Party.
In 2008, among all Florida GOP voters, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won the primary over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) by a margin of 5 percent, or 97,000 votes.
In 2008 Florida’s non-Cuban Latino voters backed then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) over Sen. McCain’s 65 percent to 33 percent. In contrast 47 percent of Cubans supported Sen. Obama, while 53 percent supported Sen. McCain. In 2010 only 40 percent of non-Cuban Latino voters supported Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who rejects comprehensive immigration reform, while nearly 78 percent of Cuban voters supported Rubio.