Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is running new Spanish language ads in Florida as part of an effort to shore up support among Latino voters, a key demographic in an important battleground state that narrowly went to President Trump in 2016.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the move comes as “polls show President Trump has made gains” among Latino voters, though Biden still holds a narrow lead overall in the state.
“Latinos make up about 20% of Florida’s electorate, according to the Pew Research Center,” the Journal reports. “In 2016, exit polls showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Trump among that group by about 27 percentage points.”
On Tuesday, Biden campaigned at a National Hispanic Heritage Month event near Orlando — his first trip to Florida since locking down the Democratic nomination. “I am going to work like the devil to make sure I turn every Latino and Hispanic vote,” Biden said Monday. The poll numbers, he said, “gotta go higher.”
“The Biden campaign recently hired more staff in Florida and unveiled several new Spanish-language ads over the weekend that hammer Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” the newspaper reports.
Biden adviser Christian Ulvert told the Journal that pollsters fail to account for the “incredibly diverse” character of Florida’s Hispanic community.
While Cuban-Americans tend to favor the GOP (and, according to WSJ, applauded when Trump reversed President Obama’s thaw with Cuba’s communist government), other groups may be up for grabs.
“The president has sought to widen that appeal with other Latino groups — including Venezuelan-Americans — with tough rhetoric and policies toward leaders in their native countries,” the newspaper says. “Mr. Trump has for months sought to portray Democrats as socialists, and a barrage of campaign ads portray Mr. Biden as beholden to the party’s increasingly influential liberal wing.”
On the flip side, Biden has been focusing on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, blaming the administration for the severity of both the healthcare crisis and the economic fallout that’s come with it. The Democrats’ Florida swing included a stop in Kissimmee (a city with a large Puerto Rican population).
In addition, the Journal reports, “A new radio ad from the Biden campaign [called “Arroz / Rice”] invokes a chant that protesters have used in Puerto Rico and criticizes Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to Floridapolitica.com, a second radio ad, called “Corazón de la Economía / Heart of the Economy” pays tribute to workers and small businesses [and] reinforces Biden’s “commitment... to keep them safe during the pandemic.”
“Our robust, microtargeted outreach is working,” Ulvert said. “What we’re doing in Florida, and across the country, is giving Hispanic voters a reason to vote for Joe — from finally addressing the COVID-19 crisis that has disproportionately impacted Hispanic families, to his commitment to protecting Dreamers — and we’re doing it in Spanish and in English, on TV, radio, digital and in the mail, and through culturally targeted outreach that has already grown a large and vibrant Hispanics for Biden coalition.”
The Journal cites Kantar/CMAG data showing that the Biden campaign has forked out $42 million for TV advertising in Florida so far — compared to the Trump campaign’s $30 million. “But the Trump campaign has about $16 million more television ad time reserved through Election Day than its counterpart.” the WSJ says.
However, Biden’s media efforts will get a substantial boost from outside his own campaign thanks to a one-time adversary — billionaire Michael Bloomberg. On Sunday, the former New York City Mayor announced a plan to spend $100 million to help Biden — in Florida alone.
The money “will primarily go toward digital and television ads in both Spanish and English,” the WSJ reports. “A Bloomberg aide said communicating with Latino voters is a key part of the strategy.”