Miami's Cuban-American Voters Still Republican, but Split on Social Issues
The paper cites 2004 numbers that show 68.5 percent of Cuban-American voters in the county identify as Republicans (vs. just 15.3 percent who identify as Democrats). Though around 70 percent either oppose or have no opinion on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, more than 70 percent favored stricter gun control laws, 60 percent favor legalizing the importation of prescription medications, and the community was split down the middle on the issue of abortion. These are views that diverge considerably from the GOP platform.
The researchers go on to theorize that once the Castro regime comes to an end Republican identity amongst Cuban-American voters may become less monolithic, but not necessarily swing dramatically to the other side of the aisle.
“It would be folly, however, to conclude that Cubans would automatically embrace Democrats owing to their positions on social issues While Cubans are liberal on some issues, on others they are still more conservative and Republican than the non-Cuban population. Consequently, to the extent that Cuban issues recede in importance, the Cuban-American vote is more likely to be up for grabs than it is to simply swing to the Democrats.”
The paper was working with data from 2004, and while Castro is still around, Democrats are already trying to make inroads in the Cuban community. The party is fielding serious congressional candidates in historically Cuban-Republican districts for the first time in twenty years. Though in a recent poll Republican incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart was still favored by 70% of the Cuban-American voters, but was trailing in the overall vote.