© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You Count on Us, We Count on You: Donate to WUSF to support free, accessible journalism for yourself and the community.

Would abortion drive Florida Latino turnout? Panelists at Hispanic Vote forum debate

In this Friday, June 24, 2022, file photo, abortion rights protesters cheer at a rally following the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, federally protected right to abortion, outside the state capitol in Lansing, Mich.
Paul Sancya/AP
/
AP
In this Friday, June 24, 2022, file photo, abortion rights protesters cheer at a rally following the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, federally protected right to abortion, outside the state capitol in Lansing, Mich.

Support for Republicans and former President Donald Trump has been building over the last eight years in majority-Hispanic Miami-Dade County and in Florida, but Democrats believe they have found a winning issue in supporting abortion access.

A constitutional referendum to protect abortion access in Florida could drive Hispanic voters to the polls in November if it ends up on the ballot, Democratic strategists said during a forum on the Hispanic vote hosted by the Miami Herald and other South Florida media outlets at Florida International University on Thursday night.

“I think young Hispanics are going to turn out because of issues like abortion,” said José Parra, a Democratic strategist and former advisor to former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. “When you see issues like the Alabama Supreme Court declaring that embryos are children, the issue becomes nationalized.”

The Florida Supreme Court is currently weighing whether to allow a ballot question seeking to protect abortion in the state constitution until “viability” on the November ballot.

The majority of Latinos believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a 2022 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, though there are differences based on party, religious identity, and dominant language. A recent survey from Florida International University and the marketing firm Adsmovil found that 40% of Hispanics disagree that doctors should be barred from performing abortions after six weeks, except in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking.

“Hispanics, despite their personal reservations that they may have about whether they personally want to engage in the procedure or not, they do not feel that the government should dictate that decision,” said Fernand Amandi, a Democratic pollster.

Support for Republicans and former President Donald Trump has been building over the last eight years in majority-Hispanic Miami-Dade County and in Florida, but Democrats believe they have found a winning issue in supporting abortion access following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the decision that established the right to an abortion.

Amandi told the audience that if a constitutional amendment protecting abortion access reaches the ballot in November, he predicts a majority of Latinos in Miami-Dade and across the state will support it.

The lively conversation over abortion access took place during The Hispanic Vote: 2024 forum hosted by the Herald, El Nuevo Herald, CBS News, Univision 23, and WLRN. The event was moderated by CBS anchor Eliott Rodriguez, and included panelists Irina Vilariño, a former GOP congressional candidate in Miami; Ninoska Pérez Castellón, host of Ninoska en La Poderosa on 670 AM; Eduardo Gamarra, a professor of politics and international relations at FIU; Parra and Amandi.

The Hispanic Vote

Latinos could play a key role in the upcoming presidential elections. There are 3.51 million Hispanics that are eligible to vote in the state, according to the FIU poll. They make up 22% of the overall population that is eligible to vote.

One of the segments of the night focused on the way that Hispanic voters view the economy ahead of the 2024 presidential election. At a national level, Hispanics point to inflation and the economy as the most important problems facing the United States today, according to the FIU poll.

Panelists touched upon how, despite the U.S. economy growing at a faster rate than other countries and a national unemployment rate below 4%, many Americans perceive that the country is not doing well and blame President Joe Biden for their financial struggles.

“There is a tremendous disconnect between what those numbers tell you and the perception among people ... and more so in Florida,” said Gamarra.

Florida is experiencing higher inflation rates than other U.S. states.

Vilariño, a former GOP congressional candidate in Miami, said that voters were basing their judgments about the state of the U.S. economy on their everyday experiences and on the inflation they see at the grocery store and other businesses where they shop.

“They don’t care about your statistics,” said Vilariño, “At the end of the day, it’s our pockets that are going to vote.”

Copyright 2024 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Max Greenwood and Syra Ortiz Blanes