An Emerson College poll of the Florida Senate race destroys the liberal conventional wisdom that Latinos do not vote Republican. In fact, they WILL vote for a Republican, and are not necessarily loyal to the Democratic party.
The Emerson poll shows Republican Senator Marco Rubio is leading his opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, 47% to 39%. The real surprise, however, comes in Rubio’s Hispanic support. Rubio is up a whopping 18 points on Murphy, 53% to 35%.
Cynics may say Rubio’s support among Latinos is due to the fact that he is himself Latino, and he enjoys support from Cuban-Americans, who skew Republican. However, not all Hispanic Republicans enjoy this type of support. Latino voters will vote for someone they connect with and who shares their values. It’s one of the reasons why George W. Bush did so well among Latinos.
Latinos also tend to follow candidates who reflect their personal values. Rubio’s strong pro-life stance does well among Latino Catholics, and his pro-entrepreneur economic ideals also score with Latino voters.
In a state like Florida, which leans Democrat, Rubio’s support will bode well for Republicans. He may bring in more Latino voters across the Republican ballot, including for Donald Trump, who needs to do well with Latinos to win the state. The same Emerson poll shows Trump has a 45% to 44% lead over Clinton.