Florida Tilts Democratic Due to Latino Electorate in 2016

THE FLORIDA LATINO ELECTORATE LOOMS AS A DECISIVE FACTOR IN WHO WINS DELEGATE RICH SUNSHINE STATE

EMBARGO: TUESDAY, MARCH 8 at 6:00 AM/ET

NEW YORK, March 4, 2016 – CNN en Español and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), has released today the third in a series of detailed reports that indicates the Latino vote in the State of Florida looms as a decisive voting bloc that ultimately will decide which candidates carry the Sunshine State in the primaries and win the 29 electoral rich votes in the November general election.
In a close presidential election Florida’s Latino voters could determine who wins the White House in November 2016.
 
According to the CLACLS report, THE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS OF FLORIDA’S LATINO ELECTORATE:  LATINO PARTY AFFILIATION AND VOTER REGISTRATION RATES IN THE STATE, CENTRAL FLORIDA, AND SOUTH FLORIDA, the Latino population of Florida soared between 1990 and 2014 according to the most recent census data for 2014 and currently comprises 25% of the state’s population and 19% of its electorate.
 
“There is no question that Florida and its 29 electoral votes will be critical for the victory of either party in the November 2016 presidential election and that Latinos will play a decisive role in determining the outcome in the state,” said Laird Bergad, report author and director of CLACLS.
 
The report concludes that an examination of voter registration rolls reveals a clear shift away from the Republican Party since 2006. A significantly larger percentage of Florida's Latinos register as Democrats or with no party affiliation. The conventional wisdom is that no Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election can win the White House without a victory in Florida.  There is no way, of course, to predict how different race/ethnic groups in the state will vote in November 2016, nor what voter turnout rates will be.
 
However, with respect to Latinos several factors are very clear. First, according to Bergad, Latinos will play a critical role in determining the outcome in Florida as they will account for about 20% of all votes cast. Second, it is highly likely that they will support the Democratic candidate by a larger margin than the 60% rate of 2012. Third, it will be extraordinarily difficult for a Republican candidate to carry Florida because of the shift in the demographic structure, voter registration patterns, and presidential preferences among the state's Latinos.
 
The political importance of the state’s Latinos has increased significantly after 1990 because of extraordinary demographic transformations and high voter participation rates.

  • The Latino population of Florida soared between 1990 and 2014 according to the most recent census data for 2014 and currently comprises 25% of the state’s population and 19% of its electorate. 
     
  • Latinos in Florida had higher registration and voting rates than national averages among Latinos. 
     
  • In 2012 72% of Florida’s Latino electorate, potential voters who were citizens 18 years of age and older, were registered to vote compared with a national average of about 59%. 
     
  • CLACLS projects that about 75% of Florida’s Latino electorate will be registered to vote in the 2016 presidential election based on past rates of increase. 
     
  • CLACLS projects that about 64% of all eligible Latino voters will cast ballots in November 2016. The national average among Latinos has been about 48% in every presidential election since 1992. 
     
  • CLACLS projects that Latinos in Florida will account for 20% of all votes cast in Florida in November 2016 making them a decisive force in the outcome of the election in the state. 
     
  • Some explanations that account for such high registration rates among Florida Latinos are that the majority of the electorate are women and that in general the Latino electorate is both older and better educated than the Latino electorate nationally. These factors are linked to higher registration rates among Latino voters. 
     

The national composition of the Latino electorate in Florida has shifted dramatically because of the immigration of many national-origin groups to the state after 1990.

  • The Cuban vote was once the defining factor in the state and in 1990 Cubans comprised 48% of the Latino electorate. However, this had fallen to 30% by 2014 although Cubans are still the largest of the Latino nationalities in the electorate. 
     
  • The Puerto Rican population of the state has increased dramatically between 1990 and 2014, but contrary to ‘popular’ misconceptions Puerto Ricans are about the same percentage of the overall electorate in 2014 (28%) as they were in 1990 (26%). 
     
  • Cubans and Puerto Ricans accounted for 57% of Florida’s Latino electorate in 2014. 
     

CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.
 
 
About the CNN en Español and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies Partnership:
 
CNN en Español and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), have partnered to provide an exclusive focus on Latino voters in America, the fastest growing minority voting bloc that could play an instrumental role in determining the next President of the United States. Through rigorous academic research generated by CLACLS’ Latino Data Project, CNN en Español will broadcast detailed reports about Latinos in the American elections over several multi-media platforms geared toward Spanish-speaking audiences around the world, including 7.4 million U.S. households.
 
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FOR A COPY OF THE REPORT CONTACT THE FOLLOWING:
 
Press Contacts:
CNN Communications
Isabel Bucaram, US
305 400 6806
Isabel.bucaram@turner.com
 
Mariana Pinango, LatAm
404 827 3803
mariana.pinango@turner.com
 
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Tanya Domi
212 817 7283
Tdomi@gc.cuny.edu
 

Submitted on: MAR 8, 2016

Category: Press Room