Would A Tough Stand On Illegal Immigration Be Deadly In Florida In The 2008 Presidential Election?
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Mickey Kaus, who has been indispensable over the last few weeks, writes:

"Immigrant Bill Hurts Martinez at Poll": Senate GOP Grand Bargaineer Mel Martinez's approval ratings have "plunged" from 48 to 37 percent approval in his state, Florida—an all-time low for him, reports the Orlando Sentinel. ... P.S.: Isn't Florida, with its large Hispanic population, supposed to be one of the more comprehensive-friendly states? [More]

Florida's 27 electoral votes went to the GOP by five points in 2004, but, of course, 2000 was rather close. (Most of the bigger states that were close in 2004 were either old-fashioned black and white industrial states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.) But I doubt that amnesty for largely Mexican illegal immigrants would be a strong vote-getter in Florida.

While Florida is above average in its percentage of Hispanic voters, it's actually below the national average in its share of Hispanics of immigrant nationalities.

According to the Census Bureau's 2004 survey of 50,000 households right after the election, Hispanics cast only 11.2% of the vote in that state. Further, Florida's Hispanic electorate is led by Cubans and, increasingly, Puerto Ricans, neither of whom have a direct interest in immigration policy. New arrivals from Cuba are treated by current law as refugees, not immigrants, and Puerto Ricans are born U.S. citizens. In 2003, 68% of Hispanic citizens in Florida were Cuban or Puerto Rican, and probably at least 75% of Hispanic voters. Only 7% of Florida Hispanic citizens are Mexican.

In a Florida newspaper poll of 600 likely voters, Hispanics were just as hostile toward immigration as the general populace.

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