And as Pew Research found in June, the Cuban population in the United States has shifted to the left politically. When the organization polled in 2000, nearly two-thirds of Cubans identified as Republican, in part a function of the party's strong history of criticizing the regime of Fidel Castro. Since, that has shifted dramatically.
Part of that change is a function of the changing Cuban-American population. While the 2010 Census showed that Cubans are more likely to have been born outside of the United States than other Hispanic groups, a smaller percentage of the population immigrated in the wake of Castro's take-over. More than half of the current foreign-born Cuban population has immigrated since 1990 -- meaning, it's fair to assume, less fervent opposition to the regime, and presumably a smaller likelihood of having family in the United States with such strong feelings.
Update: Pew Research was generous enough to share data on how partisan views among Cuban-American voters have changed by age. Younger Cuban-Americans have consistently been more Democratic than older ones -- but both groups have moved dramatically to the left.
Obama's announcement on Wednesday that the United States would move toward normalizing relations with Cuba is a function of a lot of considerations, of course, but -- as with his recent action on immigration -- it's impossible not to see the move as a reflection of long-term politics. Florida is a big prize in presidential politics, as those of you who have had access to a television or the internet within the last decade are aware. Improving relations is popular broadly; it's safe to assume that it's increasingly popular with Cuban-American voters in Florida, too.
In the Post's 2012 election recap, William Booth wondered if the shift by Cubans to the Democratic party would "translate into a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba." Correlation doesn't equal causation, but still: Look at that correlation.
Correction: This post has been corrected to say that Cubans are one-fifth of Florida's foreign-born population, not population in total.