Florida politics are complicated - The Hispanic factor - Part 1

Florida politics are complicated – what we’ve learned from the midterms - The Hispanic factor - Part 1 

Bottom Line: Fresh off of another political cycle in Florida, which was badly missed by most analysts, prognosticators and pollsters – we have a clearer picture of how/why our elections ended as they did. For the first time since 1868 Florida has a Republican Governor and two Republican US Senators. That’s how rare the past two cycles have been in Florida.  

In October I pointed out that while Democrats still lead Republicans in voter registration state-wide, the gap between the two had never been narrower since Florida began voter registration by party. This while Florida's Hispanic population continues to rapidly grow. For years we’ve heard from many frequently incorrect analysts and politicos that increasing Hispanic populations will lead to Democrats winning permanent majorities state-wide. Instead just the opposite has happened.  

Hispanic voter registration has doubled since 2006, rising from 1.1 million to 2.2 million in 2018. Yet during that time voter registration has continued to trend towards more independents and Republicans than Democrats. In statewide elections since 2006 here’s the scorecard: 

Democrats: 

  • President: 2x 
  • Senate: 1x  
  • Agriculture Commissioner: 1x

Republicans:  

  • President 1x 
  • Senate: 3x 
  • Governor: 3x 
  • Attorney General: 3x 
  • Agriculture Commissioner 2x

That’s a total of 12 statewide wins for Republicans compared to 4 for Democrats as the Hispanic voting population has doubled in our state. One of the issues many pollsters miss is by simply lumping Hispanics into a simple category. As you’ve likely heard me say, Hispanic means about 30 different things in Florida. The concerns of Cubans may vary from those of Mexicans. Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans aren’t necessarily politically analogous to Colombians and Guatemalans. That’s the issue with over-simplification of our politics. Especially when it comes to the move towards Democratic-Socialism. Many “Hispanics” in Florida are keenly aware of the threat of Socialism. Many have fled it themselves or their parents did originally. In other words, if the Democratic party continues its move leftward, especially in Florida, I believe it’s even more likely you’ll see Republicans benefit from Hispanics unwilling to support those types of candidates. Conventional wisdom is rarely wise in politics. Especially in Florida. 

 

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