28 June 2014

Republicans losing the Cuban vote

Lack of support from minority voters has long been an Achilles heel for the Republican Party. This holds true for Hispanics. In the last presidential election, Obama gained a record 75 per cent of the Latino vote. About the only consolation for the Republicans has been the support of Cuban-Americans who have long identified with or leaned toward the GOP. Now even that is changing.

A recent Pew Research survey showed that less than half of registered Cuban voters affiliate with the Republicans, only slightly more than with the Democrats. As recently as 2002, two-thirds affiliated with the Republican Party. Among all Cuban-Americans, including those not registered to vote, only a third say they identify with or lean toward the GOP, compared to half who identify with or lean toward the Democrats.

The loss of Cuban-American support is no small matter. They are committed voters. In 2012, two-thirds cast a ballot compared to less than half of Hispanics overall. 

Furthermore, young Cubans tend more to the Democrats than their elders although even among the older generation support for the Republicans is declining. The changing tide is well-illustrated in Florida, home to 70 per cent of the Cuban-American community. In 2004, George Bush won 78 per cent of the Cuban vote; in 2012, Mitt Romney won only 47 per cent. The Republican Party, it seems, is managing to alienate not only minorities but minorities within minorities.

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