Presidential candidates are vying for Latino votes in Florida

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TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Presidential candidates are gearing up for the first in a series of debates to determine who will challenge Donald Trump's presidency in 2020.

Careful thought went into the location of the debate, which will be held in Miami. 

Miami-Dade County currently has a population of more than 2.7 million people, 69 percent of which identify as Hispanic or Latino. 

In the 2000 presidential election, the predominantly Cuban county was split nearly down the middle, giving Al Gore a slight advantage at 52.6 percent, but in more recent elections, residents have shown more support for Democratic candidates, giving Hilary Clinton 63.7 percent of the vote in the 2016 election, even though Donald Trump ultimately won the state.

But Florida as a whole is an important swing state in next year's election, and the Hispanic and Latin vote could determine who wins Florida's electoral votes.

Last year, Miami-Dade and Broward counties had the greatest Hispanic growth, gaining 25,000 and 18,000 Hispanic residents respectively.

Both were followed by Hillsborough County, which gained an additional 16,000 Hispanic residents last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A 2018  Pew Research Center analysis found that Puerto Ricans now account for an estimated 31 percent of the 3 million eligible Hispanic voters in Florida, which is a similar share to that of Florida's Cuban population. 

Pasco County in particular nearly doubled in Hispanic and Latino voter registration in 2018, compared to 2014.


Latin and Hispanic voter registration along the I-4 corridor

Take a look at how Latin and Hispanic voter registration has been trending along the I-4 corridor. Hover over the bar to see the number.

 

Source: Pew Research Center

"Puerto Ricans have been the state’s fastest-growing Hispanic-origin group over the past decade, and thousands more arrived from the island following Hurricanes María and Irma in 2017," the study said. "Between 2005 and 2016, about a third of these migrants settled in Florida, in an area between the Orlando and Tampa Bay metro areas known as the Interstate 4 corridor. The state’s Puerto Rican population now rivals that of New York, the main destination of the mid-20th century’s migration from the island." 

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