But whether Spanish-language media is a must to reach the state’s burgeoning and evolving Hispanic population is — like so much in the home stretch of this presidential race — a point of contention.
Mitt Romney’s campaign, for instance, is airing some Spanish-language ads, especially on the radio. But it has argued that it can reach Florida’s Spanish-speaking voters through other means.
“A lot of Hispanics get their news from English-language stations, too,” said Marco Rubio, Florida’s Cuban American senator and the Republican Party’s poster boy for Hispanic outreach. “It’s just a broader advertising platform. I mean, don’t underestimate the amount of news and information an Hispanic voter gets from Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and ESPN.”
Swing-state Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, remains a critical battleground in a contest that has grown closer as Election Day nears. Hispanic voters are likely to play a key role here, and the degree to which they turn out could determine the election. At the moment, the Obama campaign has a huge advantage: A poll released this week shows the president with a 70 percent level of support among Hispanic voters nationwide.
On Monday evening, though, the Romney campaign and its chief Hispanic surrogates did not seem particularly worried. They acknowledge that Florida’s Hispanic community has expanded beyond traditionally right-leaning Cuban Americans and that many of the new and growing Hispanic communities in the state are more inclined toward Democrats. Yet even in some heavily Hispanic neighborhoods in Miami, it became clear that Spanish-language television isn’t for everybody.
“The channels are for novelas [soap operas] and gossip,” said Tatiana Pino, a 26-year-old Venezuelan who works at Jimmy’z Kitchen in Wynwood, a traditionally Puerto Rican neighborhood that has become home to a fashion district and art galleries. She said she “never, ever” watches Spanish-language television. “It’s something the housekeeper or my mom watches when she gets bored.”
Outside, some Cuban American friends shared a yuca mofongo. Mey-Ling Perez, a 29-year-old banker and registered independent who is leaning toward Obama, said her family often has a Spanish channel, either Univision or Telemundo, playing at home. The Obama ads are just as “nasty” as the ones in English, she said, but they are finding an audience.
“Everybody is not as fluent in English. Those who are focused on working and not learning the language are watching Univision,” she said. To the possible chagrin of the Obama campaign, however, she doubted that all of them would vote.