Fox News: Romney 50-Obama 47
Bendixen & Amandi: Romney 52-Obama 48
Edison Research: Obama 49-Romney 47
This is a new political reality that takes away Calle Ocho's special attraction to Republicans; it is no longer the center of a large, reliable bloc of single-issue voters in a tight swing state who vote for the most pro-embargo candidate.
This is such a harsh reality that some are pretending it’s not there. Our friend Mauricio attacks Bendixen, ignoring the fact that his results line up with those of other pollsters. At Babalu they are accepting the polls at face value, citing their own observations of their changing community and of course insulting those who think and vote differently; see here and here. Ana Navarro, a sharp Miami-based analyst, tweets that the Miami-Dade math just can’t add up if Cubans were split 50-50.
Unless there’s a new math.
The Republican Party is embarking on a big after-action report on Tuesday’s election results, including examination of the Romney debacle with Latino voters, the Washington Post reports. There will be separate focus groups of Cuban American voters, which would be lots of fun to watch.
I wonder what the pro-Obama Cuban Americans will say.
Some may identify with other Latinos, opposing Republican immigration policies and repulsed by the Republican discussion of immigration issues and immigrants.
I doubt they will complain about immigration policies that affect them. Cubans alone have the closest thing to an open door that exists in our immigration policy. They get 20,000 immigrant visas a year at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. They are admitted to the United States when they come here without a visa, whether arriving on a beach or appearing at the Mexican border. If they have been living comfortably outside Cuba for years, they are admitted anyway. And they are given government benefits when they arrive. Since the Bush Administration, we even admit people who are born outside Cuba to Cuban parents, i.e. people who have no Cuban nationality at all.
Some may speak up for their right to travel to Cuba and to help their relatives, a right that the United States would not dream of restricting for any other immigrant group. Except that Mitt Romney would have done precisely that. In Cuba’s new context, that would mean cutting off a line of support that is capitalizing lots of new private businesses on the island.
I also wonder what lessons the Republicans will draw. It seems pretty plain that the old Bush/Romney line gets Republicans about half the Cuban-American vote, and the Obama line gets about half for the Democrats. And by the way, Obama’s half is growing.
In May 2010, now-U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said he opposed President Obama’s Cuba policies because they bring too much hard currency to Cuba. He gave another reason that has nothing to do with U.S. interests; that a policy of unrestricted family visits “threatens the exile status of the Cuban community.” “How do you argue that you’re an exile,” he asked, “when exile is supposed to be people that can’t return for political purposes?”
Well, many Cuban Americans call themselves exiles and many consider themselves immigrants. One difference is that the immigrants seem to mind their own business while the exiles want to regulate everyone’s contacts with the island. To date, the Republicans, the party of personal freedom, family values, and free enterprise, are siding with the exiles.
Senator Rubio, our friend Mauricio, and others claim that Cubans are refugees, which is nonsense. In 2011, the United States admitted 2,920 refugees from Cuba and 34 asylees – that is, people who were admitted based on stating a well founded fear of persecution if they were to return to Cuba. Refugees account for about 10-15 percent of Cuban immigration. This is not to say that other Cuban immigrants had no problems in Cuba, or that they like the system there. But they are not refugees.
Going back to the math, and why we may be seeing a new electoral math, here are the numbers of Cubans who obtained legal permanent residency in the past ten years, according to the Department of Homeland Security.