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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Florida’s Latino Mix Offers Opportunity for Dems

In his comment following our staff post on the latest Quinnipiac poll of Florida voters , Victor E. Thompson flagged a good read for those interested in political demographics, “Florida Has Much Greater Diversity in Latino Population” in The Americano. Here’s a few of the interesting stats and trends concerning the Hispanic population of the largest swing state:

…According to the 2010 Census, Hispanics now make up almost 1 in 4 Floridians, up from 1 in 6 a decade ago.
…Hispanic growth in the Puerto Rican-heavy central Florida counties along Interstate 4 was almost as large as the Latino gains in Cuban-dominated South Florida during the past decade.
…Sill at just over 1 million, Cubans-Americans still are Florida’s largest Hispanic group, making up about a third of the state’s Latinos, according to the Census’ American Community Survey. Puerto Ricans now number more than 725,000.
…Nearly all of the 13 Latino members of the State Legislature are Cuban-American. One is Puerto Rican, one is Colombian-born and another is of Spanish descent. In Florida’s congressional delegation, the three Hispanic members of the House and Sen. Marco Rubio are all Cuban-American.

Puerto Ricans have not voted as heavily Democratic as some other Latino constituencies (e.g. Mexican-Americans). But it is also true that they have not voted as heavily Republican as have Florida’s Cuban-Americans. A new majority Latino and heavily Puerto Rican congressional district is likely to be formed in central Florida soon, with a possibility of the creation of another more mixed Latino district in south Florida.
The article notes the under-representation of Puerto Rican officials in Florida’s political institutions. It appears that Democrats can benefit by supporting citizenship education and leadership development among Florida’s Puerto Rican demographic.

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