Hispanic Population Largest Among Growing Florida Electorate

Hispanics represent the fastest-growing portion of Florida’s electorate ahead of the 2020 election, a new report by Univision and L2 found. The Sunshine State’s Hispanic electorate increased by a whopping 81 percent between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections. According to the report, the number of Hispanic voters grew at twice the rate of the entire electorate during the same period. In 2014, 748,000 Hispanics voted, while 1.3 million Hispanics voted in 2018.

The report also found that voter turnout among Hispanics grew from 38.1 percent in 2014 to 53.7 percent in 2018, The Miami Herald reported.

“This data demonstrates that our community, especially its younger members, played a crucial role in the 2018 election where the Senate seat and various congressional seats in Florida changed parties less than a year ago,” Univision CEO Vincent L. Sadusky said in a statement cited by The Miami Herald.

Sadusky continued, “2020 is shaping up to be an especially competitive election and, particularly in many large states including Florida with significant Latino populations, we have no doubt Hispanic America will play a key role in picking the next president and which party controls Congress.”

According to the Pew Research Center, a record 29 million Latinxs were eligible to vote during the 2018 midterm elections. Exit polls showed that one in four Latinxs voted for the first time last year, NPR reported. New voter data released by the Census Bureau also revealed historic voter turnout across the board during last year’s midterm election, while 2014 had the lowest voter turnout. That increase was felt among all age groups and major racial and ethnic grounds, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The data from the Census Bureau showed slightly lower numbers than those shared by Univision. According to the Sun Sentinel, Hispanic voter turnout in Florida rose from 36 percent in 2014 to 44.3 percent in 2018. The Hispanic voter turnout grew at a much larger scale nationally, from 27 percent in 2014 to 40.4 percent last year.

Many have pointed to an influx of Puerto Ricans, who moved to Florida following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, as the reason for increased voter turnout. Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster, told The Miami Herald that many Puerto Ricans chose to register as Independents. He also noted that Republicans were better at engaging Hispanic voters in the last election.

“Part of the challenge here is you can make a strong case of accusing Florida Democrats of malpractice because they consider Hispanics part of their base,” Amandi told the newspaper. “Republicans don’t. They do an extraordinary job of actually engaging them and campaigning and making the case to that electorate.” Amandi warned that if Democrats do not show up to engage Hispanic voters and Republicans do, “the Hispanic voter is likely going to go with the candidate that’s there versus the candidate that’s not there.”

It is too early to know what voter turnout among Hispanics will be during the upcoming 2020 elections, but trends point to higher percentages of eligible voters. The Pew Research Center projected in January that Hispanics will be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for about 13 percent of eligible voters. This may not translate to more Hispanic voters, Pew warned.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.