National News

Trump Outperforms Biden Among Latinos in Battleground States

A Latina voter holds up a sign in support of President Donald Trump as voters line up at a polling station on Election Day in Houston Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo: CNS/Callaghan O’Hare, Reuters)

WINDSOR TERRACE — The nation awoke Wednesday, Nov. 4, with final results not yet counted in the 2020 presidential election. But one thing was clear: President Donald Trump outperformed Joe Biden among Latino voters in key battleground states.

Trump won nearly half of the group in Florida, up from 35 percent in 2016, according to exit polls. He went on to win that state with 52 percent of the vote (about 5.65 million votes). The slim Florida victory gave him 29 electoral college votes.

Former Vice President Biden did get a bit more than half of Florida’s Latino vote, but that was down from Hillary Clinton’s 62 percent in 2016, CNN reported. Biden also lost support among Latino voters in other key election states of Georgia and Ohio.

The polling numbers got the attention of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who handily won her re-election bid in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes a portion of Queens.

She took time from savoring her victory over Republican challenger John Cummings to note on Twitter that progressive Democrats had expressed concern Biden wasn’t campaigning enough in Latino neighborhoods.

“I won’t comment much on tonight’s results as they are evolving and ongoing,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “but I will say we’ve been sounding the alarm about Dem vulnerabilities w/ Latinos for a long, long time. There is a strategy and a path, but the necessary effort simply hasn’t been put in. We have work to do.”

Biden was up about 16 percentage points in Georgia and about 24 points in Ohio among Latino voters, CNN reported. Clinton, by comparison, got a margin of 40 percentage points and 41 points in Georgia and Ohio, respectively, according to CNN.

However, Biden did well among Arizona’s Latino voters, who favored him by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, “with Trump barely making a dent,” CNN reported. Clinton also won the Latino vote there in 2016. Biden took Arizona by 51 percent, handing him 11 electoral college votes.

Back in Florida, Trump did well among several Hispanic groups, especially Cuban-Americans, with 55 percent of their vote, according to NBC News exit polls.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of Puerto Ricans and 48 percent of “other Latinos” backed Trump, NBC reported. Venezuelan Americans moved toward Trump, as did Nicaraguans and Colombians, NBC reported.

“We knew about Cuban Americans because we were studying them so intensely,” said Eduardo Gamarra, a professor at Florida International University, told NBC. “But we also have a 5 to 10 percent swing among all South Americans, even smaller groups like Peruvians.”

Trump improved significantly in Miami-Dade County, where he got 333,999 votes in 2016, but at least 532,409 votes this year, NBC reported. Biden, however, wasn’t able to grow Democratic support in the county.

The support Trump gained in Miami-Dade evolved from the early days of his administration when he spoke out against communist regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

Trump also built support in South Texas, a longtime stronghold for Democrats. In 2016, he got between 18 and 32 percent of the vote in the four counties that form the Rio Grande Valley. Some of the voters told The Times that they approved of Trump’s platforms on law and order, the economy, and border security. 

But, after midnight on Wednesday, support for Trump had grown by as much as 12 percentage points in some areas of South Texas, according to The Times.

The Times also reported that Trump’s support in South Texas “mirrored his performance among Latinos elsewhere, though the group is still only a minority of voters.”

People hold fans with the images of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris before a campaign event in Philadelphia Nov. 1, 2020. (Photo: CNS/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)