Joe Biden moves ahead of President Trump among Miami-Dade Hispanic voters, poll finds

David Smiley

Cuban-American voters continue to favor President Donald Trump over Joe Biden in Miami-Dade County, but more are moving toward the Democratic nominee, boosting Biden’s chances of winning battleground Florida, according to a poll by Bendixen & Amandi International and the Miami Herald.

Conducted Oct. 1-4 — beginning two days after the first Trump-Biden debate and the day before Trump announced he had contracted the coronavirus, and released ahead of Biden’s visit Monday to Miami — the poll of 600 likely voters found Biden leading Trump 57% to 37% in Miami-Dade County. Biden’s 20-point lead over Trump reflects modest gains among Hispanic voters that helped grow his lead from the 55% to 38% advantage Biden held in the county one month ago in a Sept. 4 Bendixen & Amandi International/Herald poll.

How Biden and Trump perform in Florida’s most populous county is crucial to their hopes of emerging victorious in the state, which Trump likely must win to be reelected. And even after Biden’s gains in Miami-Dade, Trump’s standing in the county remains improved over his performance in 2016, when he lost Miami-Dade by nearly 300,000 votes to Hillary Clinton.

“The continuing question for the Biden campaign is: If they don’t have the same margins coming out of Miami-Dade County that [Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton did four years ago, can they offset that with increased support in Florida’s other 66 counties?” said Fernand Amandi, a partner of the Miami-based polling firm and Hispanic media consultant to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Polling has shown a tight race in the state as hundreds of thousands of mail voters cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election. And hoping to boost his numbers in the left-leaning metro, Biden is headed to Miami Monday for the first time in more than a year. The former vice president will visit Little Haiti and then Little Havana ahead of an NBC town hall at the Perez Art Museum Miami. His running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, visited Doral briefly last month.

Biden and supporters like billionaire Mike Bloomberg are also flooding the state with ads on TV, radio and social media in both English and Spanish. Much of that is going into Central Florida, but about $33 million has been spent to date in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market, according to an Advertising Analytics analysis of campaign spending in Florida conducted for Politico.

“There are signs that Joe Biden’s amped up efforts cultivating Hispanic voters in Miami-Dade County may be paying dividends,” said Amandi.

Where one month ago, Bendixen & Amandi International found Trump and Biden tied among Hispanic voters in Miami-Dade, the firm found Biden ahead of Trump 49% to 43% in early October. Biden had also pulled to just about even with Trump among voters who preferred to conduct their interviews in Spanish.

Another bloc that shifted toward Biden: Cuban-Americans. One month ago, Bendixen & Amandi International found that 68% of Cuban-Americans supported Trump and 30% supported Biden. Those numbers moved 12 percentage points over the last four weeks to 61% for Trump and 35% for Biden, who performs much better with Cuban-Americans born in the U.S. than those who emigrated from Cuba.

Voters interviewed were not asked why they were supporting the candidates, so it’s unclear what moved the needle. But Biden’s campaign says the former vice president’s message and efforts to reach out to different segments of Miami-Dade County’s diverse electorate are yielding dividends.

“As a record 500,000 mail ballots were mailed on Oct. 1, the campaign is proud to continue our aggressive outreach efforts to engage Miami-Dade’s diverse coalition of voters and meet them in their neighborhoods,” said Christian Ulvert, an adviser to Biden’s Florida campaign. “The campaign continues to see our support grow because voters believe in the vice president’s leadership to confront COVID-19 and come out stronger than ever from the economic challenges our communities face.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to an email Sunday.

Both campaigns are spending vast amounts of money in Miami-Dade County. But the Oct. 4 Bendixen & Amandi poll suggested returns may be minimal at this point in the election. The poll, which had a 4 percentage point margin of error, found only 5% of Miami-Dade’s likely voters are undecided.