Press Releases

STATEMENT RELEASE: JMI Releases New Backgrounder Exam⁠i⁠n⁠i⁠ng ⁠t⁠he Role of Puer⁠t⁠o R⁠i⁠can Vo⁠t⁠ers ⁠i⁠n Flor⁠i⁠da Elec⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ons

By: Logan Padgett / 2020

August 24, 2020
CONTACT: Logan Elizabeth Padgett

JMI Releases New Backgrounder Examining the Role of Puerto Rican Voters in Florida Elections

Puerto Rican voters in the United States have steadily become a large and influential voting bloc. Since 1898 post Spanish-American War, the resulting diaspora has led to more Puerto Ricans living in U.S. states than in Puerto Rico.

In 2017, Florida became the state with the largest Puerto Rican population in the U.S., comprising 1.1 million potential voters. In a swing-state that has chosen the winner of 17 out of the last 18 presidential elections, this population’s perspective is crucial in securing the presidency. Additionally, most Puerto Rican residents of Florida live in Central Florida, a region that has been decisive in every U.S. presidential election since 1992.

A new report from JMI adjunct scholar, David Freddoso, titled, “Common Themes from

the Commonwealth: Puerto Rico’s Growing Role in Florida Politics,” examines the impact of Florida’s Puerto Rican voters attitudes towards a variety of issues and how candidates could appeal to this crucial segment.

The analysis concludes that candidates for office, especially those running statewide or for President, would be wise to consider the best approach to win this influential segment of voters.

“Few mainland politicians really understand or study the issues surrounding Puerto Rican statehood. But if they want to win Florida — and that means winning the all-important region of Central Florida where so many Puerto Ricans now live — they need to start. This very important group of American voters cares about this issue intensely. Those seeking their votes need to study it carefully and understand why. They don’t have to take positions they don’t believe in, but they do need to approach the question with a degree of seriousness and sensitivity that you don’t often see when it is discussed in the mainland press.” David Freddoso, Adjunct Scholar, The James Madison Institute

”It’s important to know that this isn’t a story about Puerto Rico or the challenges in the Commonwealth, it’s a story about Florida and a growing segment of voters with an increasing sphere of influence. As Florida continues to represent the dynamics and diversity of the United States, and in a state typically decided by one percentage point or less, it’s our hope that this analysis is helpful for any candidate, regardless of ideological philosophy or political persuasion.” – Sal Nuzzo Vice President of Policy, The James Madison Institute

To read the report, “Common Themes from the Commonwealth: Puerto Rico’s Growing Role in Florida Politics,” click here.

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The James Madison Institute is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the advancement of free markets and liberty. The Institute conducts research on such issues as criminal justice, healthcare, taxes, and regulatory environments.