Florida Hispanic voters are voting by mail and casting ballots at in-person early voting sites in much greater numbers than four years ago, says University of Florida Political Science Prof. Daniel A. Smith.
Smith, a noted electoral numbers cruncher who posts at Electionsmith.com, said Friday that Hispanic turnout for in-person early voting was up 152 percent over a comparable period four years ago.
In an interview, Smith called it the “Inverse Trump Effect” in honor of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose hard-line stance on immigration and 2015 reference to Mexican “rapists” have contributed to his low polling numbers among Latinos.
A Univision poll this week finds Hillary Clinton beating Trump by a 60-to-30 percent margin among Florida Hispanic voters. President Barack Obama carried the Florida Hispanic vote by a 60-to-39 percent margin over Mitt Romney in 2012, according to exit polls.
Through Thursday, Hispanic turnout appears to be roughly proportionate to the composition of Florida voter rolls.
Hispanics are 15.7 percent of all voters in Florida. Smith said about 744,000 Hispanics had voted through Thursday — that’s about 14 percent of the nearly 5.3 million early and mail-in votes cast at that time.
The overall Hispanic electorate in Florida is 39.5 percent Democrat and 25.4 percent Republican. About 35 percent of Hispanics aren’t registered with either major party — significantly higher than the 26.7 percent of all Florida voters who shun the major parties.
Of the Hispanics who have voted through Thursday, Smith said, 41 percent are Democrats, 31 percent are Republicans and 27 percent have no party affiliation.
About 937,000 voters with no party affiliation had voted by Thursday. Smith said their composition was 62 percent white, 21 percent Hispanic and 6 percent black. That compares to 58.2 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic and 8.1 percent black for all Florida voters with no party affiliation.