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Midterm poll: Florida Latino voters "are outliers" compared to Latinos nationwide

 An English-and-Spanish polling station sign in Dallas, Texas,
LM Otero
An English-and-Spanish polling station sign in Dallas, Texas,

Florida's Republican-Latino bond helped turn Miami-Dade County red this week. But a poll shows the national Latino red turn the GOP wanted didn't happen.

When it comes to Latino voters, Florida marches to a different baterista, as it were — and a new midterm elections survey indicates just how different.

Miami-Dade was once reliable for Democrats. But in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Republicans won the county — and that was due largely to its Latino voters, its majority electorate. They have flocked in recent years to the GOP in and its albeit false message that all Democrats are “socialistas” in the mold of left-wing dictatorships in Latin America, which many South Florida Latinos have fled.

But a new pollendorsed by a dozen nonprofits, including UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), makes it clear South Florida was the Latino exception. Just 44 % of Florida Latinos said they would vote for a Democratic congressional candidate; meanwhile, an average 67 % of Latinos in 10 other states, including red swaths like Texas, said they would.

“Florida is the outlier," said Gabe Sanchez, vice president of the Los Angeles-based polling firm BSP Research, which conducted the Latino portions of the larger 2022 Midterm Election Voter Poll directed by the African-American Research Collaborative in the days leading up to Tuesday's voting.

"At the end of the day — despite the narrative that we were going to see a huge red wave somewhat fueled by Latino movement towards the Republican Party — that simply did not materialize in this election.”

While only 28% of Florida Cubans told the poll they approve of President Biden, for example, an ample majority of Latinos nationwide said they did. U.S. Latinos also listed issues like affordable healthcare, gun control and abortion rights among their top concerns. Most Florida Latinos did not.

“Florida is not representative of Latino voters nationwide,” said Sanchez.

South Florida’s mostly Cuban and South American Latino population is a small portion of U.S. Latinos, who are mostly Mexican and Puerto Rican and lean Democratic.
Copyright 2022 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.
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