It’s on full display in the latest Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely Hispanic Florida voters showing President Barack Obama clings to a narrow 51-47 percent lead over Republican Mitt Romney.
But nationwide, the poll shows, Obama leads by a far bigger margin among likely Hispanic voters.
The difference in Florida: Cuban voters. Without them, the FIU poll shows, Obama would handily win likely Florida Hispanic voters 65-32 percent.
Not only are Cubans reliable Republican voters — they’re about 70 percent of Miami-Dade’s registered Republicans — but they’re also more likely to answer surveys like the FIU poll.
“Cuban-American voters pick up the phone and answer. They want to be heard,” said Eduardo Gamarra, an FIU professor of Latin American studies who conducted the poll with his political research firm, the Newlink Group.
Gamarra, a registered Democrat of Bolivian descent, actually had to scale back the number of Cuban-American respondents in the poll, a process known as “weighting,” which he prefers not to do.
Gamarra stopped polling in South Florida all together when he concluded the three-day survey last week in order to reach other Hispanics — those of Puerto Rican, Mexican and South and Central-American ancestry.
“Polling Florida Hispanics is extremely difficult,” Gamarra said. “It’s not just a Cuban conundrum, but it’s a Florida and Miami-Dade conundrum.”