Majority of Puerto Ricans in Florida Did Not Vote for DeSantis, Data Shows

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By Mivette Vega

February 28, 2023

The analysis included data from Orange and Osceola counties, focusing primarily on the 50 precincts with the highest Puerto Rican voter density.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rubio did not win the Puerto Rican vote in the last midterm elections, as some media outlets said during election night. 

Alianza for Progress, through its own analysis, discovered that Puerto Rican voters supported the Democratic candidates.

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The nonprofit organization contracted Samuel Vilchez Santiago, a political strategist and community leader, to analyze the results from Orange and Osceola counties, focusing primarily on the 50 precincts with the highest Puerto Rican voter density. Vilchez has analyzed data for the last 10 years, covering six election cycles.

The data shows that the majority of Puerto Rican voters did not vote for DeSantis; instead, they voted for the Democratic candidate Charlie Crist. The Boricua voters also didn’t vote for Sen. Rubio, but for Democratic candidate Val Demmings.

“Both DeSantis and Rubio lost in the most concentrated Hispanic and Puerto Rican precincts in Orange and Osceola counties. Though, the data show nothing to celebrate for Democrats. Historical low-level turnouts and support for Democratic candidates led to the worst performance in these precincts in years, at least since we began tracking,” Vilchez said.

Other three major findings of the analysis include that voter turnout plummeted, especially among Hispanic voters; and that Democrats reached historically low levels of support, but held on to a narrow majority of Hispanic voters. For this same reason, Democrats lost key seats, leading to a first-time drop in the number of Puerto Ricans elected to office.

Vilchez said Demings outperformed Crist among Central Florida Hispanic voters. Demings obtained 55.9% of the votes in the analyzed precincts, while Crist received 53.2% of the votes.

“It is interesting to see how Demings was able to get more support from the Hispanic community, even though she was going against a Hispanic candidate. It also tells you a story about the resources spent and the investment in these races. Unlike Crist, Demings invested some resources to mobilize Hispanic voters in Osceola and Orange County,” Vilchez said.

Marcos Vilar, executive director of Alianza for Progress, said Democrats can’t win without the Hispanic vote, so the organization made several recommendations to encourage the mobilization of this voter block. 

“These numbers should concern progressive groups and the Democratic establishment across the country. Without Florida, the path to a Democratic majority in Congress is narrow. And without the Puerto Rican vote, the path to a majority for Democrats in Florida is not possible,” Vilar said.

The organization’s director said the 2022 results are due to the direct impact of reduced investment to mobilize Hispanic voters in the I-4 corridor, which is the main purpose of Alianza for Progress as an organization. 

RELATED: Puerto Rico’s Population Is Rapidly Growing Older. Here’s Why.

In 2016, 2018, and 2020, Alianza was able to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to knock on doors in Puerto Rican and Latino communities in Central Florida, but the funding to implement scaled programs was simply not there this cycle, making it impossible to mobilize the number of voters it did previously.

“As a result, participation levels in our community crashed to 2014 levels. That partially explains why Democrats continue to struggle among Florida-based Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics. The investment in our Latino community is truly not a top priority,” he said.


  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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