Klofstad noted that Florida’s largest Hispanic groups, those of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, aren’t likely to be too directly affected by immigration when compared to Mexicans because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and Cubans have a special immigration status.
Cuban voters tend to be more Republican and live in South Florida, while many Puerto Rican voters live in Central Florida and vote Democrat. Cubans remain the largest Hispanic group in Florida and accounted for about a third of the survey, which was conducted in Spanish and English. Because of the Cuban vote, Obama has a smaller overall lead among Hispanics when compared to other Hispanic-heavy swing states.
Regardless of heritage, there’s a good chance that, if you’re Hispanic, you know someone who’s undocumented.
About 49 percent of Hispanic voters said they know an undocumented immigrant and 49 percent don’t, according to the poll.
In showing diminishing support for Republicans, the poll reflects the voter-registration trends for Hispanics in Florida, where their ranks have grown by a total of 39 percent while the overall rolls have increased just 10 percent since 2006.
But the number of Republican Hispanics has only grown 12 percent, while the number of Democratic Hispanics have increased 60 percent and no-party-affiliation Hispanic voters increased 50 percent. NPA Hispanics now outnumber Republican Hispanics in Florida.
And Hispanics are energized about voting as well, with 70 percent saying their “very enthusiastic” about voting. And 57 percent say they’re more enthusiastic about voting this election than in 2008.
That’s welcome news to the Obama campaign, which has watched its support slip among non-white Hispanic whites. Obama lost the white vote 42-56 percent to John McCain in 2008 in Florida, but won Hispanics 57-42.
“I didn’t expect to see the enthusiasm that high,” Klofstad said. “That’s important to Obama’s chances in Florida.”