An analysis of voting precincts in Miami-Dade County with high concentrations of Cuban-American voters shows an 11-point improvement for Hillary Clinton from President Obama’s 2012 margins. These results could indicate that Democrats continue to make inroads among Miami Cuban-American voters and are inconsistent with the argument that President Obama’s Cuba policy hurt Clinton’s chances in Florida.
Opponents of President Obama’s Cuba policy pointed to these precincts today to argue that Cuban-Americans voted against Clinton as a backlash against Obama’s policy of ending the U.S. embargo toward Cuba, which Clinton supports. However, when compared to the Obama-Romney results from 2012, Democrats saw an 11-point gain in these areas.
*To achieve an apples-to-apples comparison, certain precincts were combined since a redistricting occurred between 2012 and 2016. For example: in 2012, what is now Precinct 330 was half of what was then Precinct 353. Therefore, 2016 precincts 330 and 353 were combined and compared to 2012 precinct 353. Similarly, what is now precinct 413 was 413+459 in 2012. The process of combining precincts to make accurate companions did not affect the candidates’ respective percentages.
*Both past and current maps can be found here.
*Source: Miami-Dade County Elections
*2016 Precinct 413 was updated to include precinct 459 to achieve a precise comparison with the same area in 2012.
Before we read too deeply into precinct results, let’s note the obvious methodological issues with using them as a basis for generalizations about the Cuban-American community:
- No voting precinct is homogeneously Cuban-American.
- These voting precincts are not necessarily representative of the entire Cuban-American community. We can reasonably assume that a 31 year-old Cuban-American voter in Wynwood may have different political views than his grandparents who live in Westchester.
- Three out of 10 Cuban-Americans do not live in Florida.
Regardless, let us resume with the analysis:
- Between 2012 and 2016, Republicans saw a drop of six points in these heavily Cuban precincts. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton exceeded President Obama’s share of the electorate by five points.
- This is a combined total shift of 11-points in Clinton’s favor.
When combined with the majority of survey research data; improvements for Democrats in Westchester and Hialeah, the two communities with the highest concentrations of Cuban-American voters in the United States; and exit polling; this 11-point shift in favor of Clinton weakens the argument that Cuban-Americans turned their backs on Clinton because of President Obama’s Cuba policy.
To paraphrase Sen. Rubio, we can now dispel once and for all with this fiction that Obama’s Cuba policy hurt Clinton’s chances.