What do Puerto Rican voters think ahead of the 2020 election?
Despite being an oft-forgotten voting bloc, Puerto Ricans are ready to make an impact on Nov. 3.
It’s a weathered and beaten drum at this point, but Latinx voters will likely be one of the deciding factors in determining the outcome of the 2020 election. As one of the biggest portions of that bloc, Puerto Ricans play arguably one of the most important roles on Nov. 3.
The candidates know it: as shown by the advertisements targeting the population both on and off Puerto Rico, and the historic plans that have been promised, but do the people?
A recent survey released by the Center for American Progress Fund (CAP) in collaboration with Latino Decisions found that on average, 75% of Puerto Rican voters are “definitely” voting in the 2020 election.
The survey targeted 1,000 people of Puerto Rican descent living in Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York, with an oversample of 200 in PA. While New York often falls firmly Democratic, both Florida and Pennsylvania are battleground states, where the Puerto Rican vote could be the decider.
Pennsylvania had the highest rate of Puerto Rican voters “definitely” participating on Nov. 3 at 81%.
But amid COVID-19, participating in the 2020 election is more complicated than in previous years. Yes, voters can still show up to the polls on Election Day and perform their civic duty, but locations have been limited in certain areas, and many are opting to vote by mail.
According to the CAP and Latino Decisions survey, just 53% of all Puerto Rican voters surveyed in Pennsylvania, Florida and New York would prefer to vote by mail on Nov. 3.
Only 59% of all surveyed were familiar with how to request a mail-in ballot in their state.
New York had the lowest percentage of Puerto Rican voters know the process at 50%. Pennsylvania Puerto Rican voters stood at 60%, and Florida was the highest at 68%.
When it comes to issues in 2020, of the Puerto Rican voters surveyed, the most pressing challenge was responding to coronavirus. As of Oct. 20, the Trump administration has yet to implement a nationwide testing strategy for COVID-19 and Congress has only passed one stimulus bill to cope with the subsequent economic downturn.
The two other most important issues according to the survey are stopping discrimination against immigrants and Latinos, and unemployment.
However, the survey also showed that, at least up until the week of its field work (Sept. 4-11), the outreach from Democrats, Republicans and non-partisan civic groups was reaching minimal Puerto Rican voters.
Fifty-four percent of those that responded to the survey said they had not been contacted by any party or group regarding voting in 2020.
That’s likely changed in the month and a half since the survey was conducted, with Biden releasing his historic Puerto Rico plan on Sept. 15, more discussions being held that address the island’s long recovery from natural disasters, and new ads targeting the diaspora population.