Central Florida's Growing Puerto Rican Population Could Help Hillary Clinton

Central Florida's Growing Puerto Rican Population Could Help Hillary Clinton

Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans make Central Florida their home each year, transforming an area once solely recognized for Mickey Mouse as a Boricua haven, filled with banderas, restaurants selling mofongo and alcapurrias alongside bakeries offering limber and tembleque on every block and salsa y reggaeton jumping from a casa or car near you. But the change has also been political: incoming puertorriqueños, who historically vote Democrat, are turning the swing state blue, which could really help boost Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

MORE: Florida Puerto Ricans Will Decide the Presidential Race in the Biggest Swing State

As U.S citizens, Puerto Ricans can register to vote in the presidential election as soon as they get to the mainland, a right they don't have on the island.

Many are taking advantage, too. According to data from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Florida's Latino voting turnout is expected to grow by 20 percent this November compared with 2012.

This can prove good for Clinton, as Puerto Ricans, according to a survey by Fox News Latino, account for the Democratic nominee’s biggest Latino supporters. In fact, 65 percent of Boricuas have a favorable view of Clinton, more than Mexican Americans, who have the most at stake with a Donald Trump presidency.

Unlike Trump’s campaign, which has no official outreach presence in Central Florida, Clinton has more than 50 offices and hundreds of staff.

Among the puertorriqueño volunteers is Anibal Camacho, who left the island two years ago in search of better schools for his grandchildren. Camacho makes calls from his Puerto Rican-area code cell phone to get fellow Boricuas to volunteer for Clinton.

“We will have good participation in Osceola County,” a sweaty Camacho tells TIME after a few hours making calls for Clinton in Kissimmee. Trump “doesn’t have knowledge of the Hispanic culture and working people culture. We Puerto Ricans don’t like his comments.”

Puerto Ricans aren’t the only Latino group that could help Clinton in the state, either. According to a poll by Florida International University, most Cubans in South Florida, a major voting bloc that traditionally votes Republican, are abandoning their party because of Trump.

But while the state’s biggest Latino groups, Puerto Ricans and Cubans, are #TeamClinton, that doesn’t mean the former secretary of state has Florida in the bag. Accompanying the mass migration of puertorriqueños in the state is older white retirees who support Trump and could countervail the gains Latinos are making for Democrats.

It should also be noted that Latino support for Clinton in Florida, 53 percent, is less than it was for President Barack Obama, 60 percent.

PLUS: Puerto Ricans Support Hillary Clinton More Than Any Other Latino Group

In spite of this, it’s likely that the growing number of Puerto Ricans making the Greater Orlando Area their home will help, not hinder, Clinton’s campaign.

(h/t TIME)