Trump, Biden bidding for Latino vote: What that looks like in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — New data shows exactly how close the 2020 presidential election is in Florida among Latino voters.

Currently, former Vice President Joe Biden is in the lead with this group, but he is underperforming compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But when it comes to assessing the Latino vote, experts say it’s not so easily lumped into one group.

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Dr. Luis Martinez Fernandez, professor at the University of Central Florida and a nationally syndicated columnist, said it’s an ethnic group with a handful of people from different origins.

Dr. Aubrey Jewett, also a UCF professor, agreed.

“In Florida, the Latino vote is mixed,” Jewett said.

According to Fernandez, Florida has Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, Dominicans, Mexicans — and the list goes on. All of these people from different backgrounds have different issues and don’t typically vote for the same party.

For instance, in general, the Hispanic population leans toward the Democrats. But Florida’s largest Hispanic group, Cubans, tend to vote Republican.

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“The Cuban population has gone through a lot,” Fernandez said. “Those who left the island were humiliated; their properties were taken away. And that produces a collective trauma, if you will, which allows me to understand why they would like to vote for somebody who’s the most anti-communist.”

Puerto Ricans, on the other hand, tend to vote for Democrats. But Jewett said even they can be hard to pin down in one party or the other.

“Puerto Ricans who come directly from the island, which is quite a few who come to central Florida, actually are more likely to register as no party affiliation,” Jewett said. “And they are really classic swing voters.”

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Across the nation, Biden’s campaign is running Spanish ads, where the person voicing it has the dialect or accent that’s most common in that region.

“We want to make sure that we are capturing the nuances within the Latino community,” said Cristobal Alex with Biden for President, Latino Victory Fund.

A representative for Latinos for Trump said they are not microtargeting just that group.

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When it comes down to it, Jewett and Fernandez agree that Biden will most likely carry the majority of the Latino vote.

“It’s very clear in my mind that Biden and Democratic candidates, in general, will win the Latino vote,” Fernandez said.

“But then the question will be by how much,” Jewett said.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.