ARE WE SEEING A SWING BY HISPANICS TOWARD DEMOCRATS?
As Florida's population continues to change, with the number of Hispanic voters increasing rapidly, that group becomes more important for both major political parties.
In Miami-Dade County, Republicans for a long time have had an advantage among the Hispanic population, especially within the Cuban exile community. But Jose Cardenas and Adam C. Smith of the St. Petersburg Times report that the trend seems to be changing, as Democrat Luis Garcia was elected to the state House in a district which includes Miami's Little Havana neighbourhood and had previously been a GOP stronghold. Also, exit polls last week show that Democratic candidates did significantly better than normal among Hispanic voters.
According to one exit poll conducted by the William C. Velasquez Institute, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis received 53 percent of the Hispanic vote, while governor-elect Charlie Crist received 42 percent. The poll also noted that more than two-thirds of Hispanic voters supported Democratic candidates in their Congressional races.
Former Florida Republican Party chairman Al Cardenas says the reversal was a direct result of the debate over immigration.
But will this reversal hold up? There's a lot of work to do in two years.