Clinton Surpassed Obama’s Totals by 11 pts. in Cuban-American Precincts

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.

DJT HRC       MR BO  
Precinct Votes Votes Total Precinct Votes Votes Total
301 745 433 1204 301 731 407 1151
307 1034 667 1754 307 1030 612 1656
317 684 359 1080 317 748 332 1091
318 1269 911 2234 318+319 1288 755 2054
330+353 1819 1777 3723 353 1179 1225 3014
331 1251 908 2212 331+330+329 1969 1165 3148
357 706 501 1246 357 684 461 1155
375 388 329 733 375+361 461 311 775
402+376 2687 1958 4800 402 2645 1251 3923
412+472 1870 1086 3071 412+456 1957 926 2902
413+459 1917 1021 3034 413+459 1997 806 2816
419 632 378 1046 419 676 268 948
420 1019 665 1732 420 1113 540 1663
421 972 669 1690 421 1484 806 2300
422 573 427 1031 422 644 346 991
423 809 622 1482 423 906 514 1424
433 866 604 1516 433 921 475 1407
437 835 576 1466 437 951 448 1406
438 1113 732 1908 438 1227 605 1840
440 828 508 1390 440 892 415 1311
441 1007 709 1776 441 1026 625 1659
449 579 469 1083 449 668 343 1015
704 921 763 1731 704 956 695 1658
708 1017 830 1913 708+709 964 697 1678
710 773 550 1376 710 793 517 1314
712 901 642 1589 712 967 586 1560
713 981 855 1903 713 1022 672 1705
715 899 701 1650 715 1018 587 1618
716 838 517 1392 716+780 722 372 1099
718 903 707 1673 718+724 1273 700 1982
720 861 524 1435 720 1088 500 1595
Total: 31697 22398 55873   Total 34000 18962 53858
  57% 40%       63% 35%  
*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.


Note: The 1 percentage-point discrepancy between President-elect Trump’s performance in this analysis versus the one by Obama’s Cuba policy detractors is due to an apparent mathematical flaw in their calculation since the correct process for finding the total mean for each candidate’s performance in the precincts is to add vote totals for reach precincts and then divide by the total number of votes for all candidates. Instead, they added percentages and divided by 30, which is incorrect.
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