The conventional wisdom is that the Puerto Rican influx to Florida will be a game-changer for the state’s politics.
The Tampa Bay Times pours cold water on that. Here’s what respected political writer Adam C. Smith argued:
“But assume, very generously, that 40,000 Puerto Rican new Florida residents register to vote this year, 62 percent vote, and Democratic statewide candidates win 70 percent of those votes. That comes to about 17,000 additional Democratic votes.
Helpful, yes, but no game-changer.”
Part of the problem is that it’s difficult to calculate how many Puerto Ricans moved to Florida due to Hurricane Maria. Governor Rick Scott estimates it at 300,000. However, that number is extremely overestimated because it’s based on flight numbers – which includes a lot of journalists, politicians, and activists.
The Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida estimates the number to be about 50,000 – many of which are children who aren’t old enough to vote.
Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Florida 49%-48%, or about 113,000 votes.