Donald Trump is the catalyst who could force a decisive break between Miami-Dade County’s influential Cuban-American voters and the Republican Party, a new poll has found.
Local Cuban Americans dislike Trump so much — and are increasingly so accepting of renewed U.S.-Cuba ties pushed by Democratic President Barack Obama — that Trump’slikely presidential nomination might accentuate the voters’ political shift away from the GOP, according to the survey shared with the Miami Herald and conducted by Dario Moreno, a Coral Gables pollster and a Florida International University associate politics professor.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents supported Trump, a number that is still higher than the 31 percent who backed Clinton — but also “the lowest in history that any potential Republican candidate polls among this traditionally loyal demographic,” according to Moreno. He added that the results put likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton within “striking distance” of winning over the influential voting demographic. Trump won the March 15 Florida GOP primary in a rout.
“We’ve been seeing demographic changes in this community since 2004,” Moreno said, as younger voters of Cuban descent, and recent Cuban immigrants, have increasingly identified as Democrats or independents. “With Trump, the real danger is that he’s going to accelerate this realignment in Miami.”
Moreno is a Republican who has polled for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, though this poll was not conducted on either politician's behalf.
The pollster acknowledged his own bias against the Republican presidential front-runner: “I can’t vote for Trump,” Moreno said. “I’m not going to vote for Hillary, but I’m not going to vote for Trump.”