Former vice president Joe Biden has gained support among Latinos in Arizona while leading Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) among Latino Democrats in Florida, according to two new polls conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy.
Sanders led Biden 47 percent to 40 percent among Latino likely Democratic primary voters in Arizona. The poll contrasted with the results of the Nevada Primary, where Sanders won over 50 percent of Latino voters to Biden’s 17 percent, as well as California where Sanders won 50 percent of Latinos to Biden’s 23 percent.
In Florida, Biden held 48 percent of Latino voters to Sanders’s 37 percent, outside the poll’s 4 point margin of error.
In both Florida and Arizona respectively, 24 percent and 23 percent of respondents named healthcare as the most important issue in the election.
While Sanders has long touted support for free medical care for all Americans, the senator has turned off Latino voters in Florida, especially since a February 60 Minutes interview in which he praised aspects of Fidel Castro’s dictatorship in Cuba.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?” Sanders said at the time. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
The remarks led Florida Democrats, whose constituencies include large numbers of Cuban refugees and exiles, to distance themselves from Sanders.
“Donald Trump wins Florida if Bernie is our nominee,” warned State Representative Javier Fernandez, a Miami Democrat. “If Bernie Sanders is atop the ticket, it’s going to make it tougher for all of us to win in Florida.”