Q&A of the Day – How have transplants been voting in Florida?
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: Hi Brian. Always great to hear you...almost every day. My parents-in-law from Cuba met in the states and have been American citizens since our bicentennial (1976) and married almost 60 years. They had businesses for years and live in Ft Lauderdale now. I am really worried about the votes of Puerto Ricans new to Florida and the fifth of Florida's new people coming from New York. I don't have anything against any of these groups but hope they vote wisely. Desantis (love him!) and Rick Scott barely won as it was. We need to take back the House. Florida concerns me on the congressional races.
Bottom Line: Last week I shared the latest study showing that just over 21% of New Yorkers who left the state last decade, came to ours. It’s no secret that New York transplants are huge in South Florida, but news that nearly 300,000 migrated in the last decade alone still seemed to surprise many. I’ve long joked that if you’re coming to Florida to flee high taxes, welcome home, but you’re not allowed to come here and vote for the same type of politicians (Democrats) who gave you the high taxes you’re fleeing. The more I think about it, it’s not really a joke. Anyway, similar concerns have been voiced by many on the right regarding the growing Hispanic vote in Florida as well. Many pundits and pollsters predicted hurricane Maria’s permanent displacing of Puerto Ricans would seal the deal for Florida’s Democrats during the 2018 election cycle. Now, I’d never advocate taking any election for granted but those predicting the demise of Republicans in Florida have been wrong for well over a decade.
There’s no accredited data on how specifically Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, New Yorkers, etc., who've relocated to Florida have voted but we can compare overall data to find answers that may surprise you. Ten years ago, today Democrats held a 669,882 registered voter advantage in Florida over Republicans. A decade later with nearly 300,000 additional New Yorkers and well over a million transplants from other places/countries, that advantage for Democrats is down to 330,428. In other words, Republicans have gained 339,454 more registered voters than Democrats over the past decade. Based on this type of information, it appears likely that transplants to our state are more likely to be Republicans than Democrats – regardless of where they’re relocating from originally.
Additionally, exit polling from 2018 showed that a key to the wins by Governor DeSantis and Senator Scott, were Puerto Ricans. Both candidates pulled in about half of the Puerto Rican vote, far higher than was anticipated. Political assumptions are often unwise, it’s why many pundits and pollsters are often wrong about outcomes – especially when it comes to Florida’s complicated politics. It’s also why I’m optimistic about Florida today and for the foreseeable.It would appear that most new Floridians get it, when they get here.