As in previous elections, experts predict Hispanic voters will make a difference in Tuesday’s presidential election.
With Hispanics accounting for 27.3 million of the country’s more than 225 million voters, the prediction is logical.
“It is the largest Hispanic population of eligible voters of all time,” said Eduardo Gamarra, a professor at Florida International University (FIU), who thinks Hispanic voters could determine the winner.
This marks a change from the past when Hispanics did not go out to vote in large numbers.
Laird Bergad, a founding director of the Center for Latino Studies in Latin America and the Caribbean at New York University (CUNY), said in a recent analysis that 48% of Hispanics eligible to vote have actually voted in recent elections. Gamarra estimated the previous rate was between 47 and 49 percent, but noted that in this election the rate could exceed 51 percent, very similar to that of 1992 when Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill, was elected President.
A Univision News poll, released last week, showed that 60% of Florida’s Hispanic voters favor Clinton, the same number who voted for Obama four years ago. Only 30 percent plan to vote for Trump, less than the 39 percent who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, according to the Bendixen & Amandi International poll.
But as the Hispanic population has become politicized because of Trump’s remarks, other experts believe Latino voter turnout will be more plentiful.
“Hispanic voters are clearly going to be decisive in Florida, and increasingly in other major states across the country,” said Fernand Amandi, chief executive of Bendixen & Amandi International. “Therefore, it would not be an overstatement to conclude that Hispanics are the most important voters in the United States because it could well be that they will elect the next leader.”
In Florida, as in other states, Hispanics are divided – although in Miami-Dade, Cuban voters seem to favor Trump more, while Puerto Ricans and other nationalities say they prefer Clinton.