Ruben Nararrette gets this right about Florida:
The estimated 10 million Latinos who are expected to cast ballots in November care about the same issues as other voters: jobs, the economy, health care, education. But with one major difference: Immigration tends to float to the top of the list when tensions flare, as they did last year when Arizona started a trend with a tough immigration law that all but requires the ethnic and racial profiling of Latinos.
A recent Latino Decisions poll confirms the basic argument for eligible Latino voters in Florida. Immigration is a distant third as a voting issue, but it is there.
Nonetheless, it is interesting that Mitt Romney is currently ahead for that same cohort, 35%-20% over Newt Gingrich, whose message on immigration is more centrist. No other Republican candidate received double digits. Romney favorables (very favorable + somewhat favorable) add up to 40%, and Gingrich's 33%. The main two issues for Latinos are the economy and jobs, so they may be holding their noses about immigration while believing Romney is the better choice for the economy (or, maybe, they agree with many Republicans who are repudiating Gingrich because of his problematic ethics past). Obviously Romney's goal in Florida is to avoid hostile language about undocumented immigrants, and he is already backtracking to consider the DREAM Act for people who serve in the military. Mr. Flip, please meet Mr. Flop.
On Cuba, both have tried to be anti-Castroier-than thou so that issue may simply not be on the table. For those who hate Castro, either candidate will do.
Another interesting tidbit: 7% of Florida Latinos have never even heard of Marco Rubio.