Interview with Heather Burky, director of “Lost Country”

Heather Burky and I met in a Google+ Hangout to talk about her documentary, “Lost Coutry,” which tells the story of the Cuban Revolution through interviews with three exiles who fought back.

Here’s the interview. This was my first time “broadcasting” a Hangout, and I didn’t realize I needed to click “Start Broadcast” until after Heather has introduced herself. Sorry about that.

Tonight: Interview with Armando Socarras

In case you’ve forgotten, or are too young to remember, Armando Socarras had his 15 minutes of fame back in the 1970’s 1969 when he hitched a ride to freedom in the wheel well of an Iberia DC 8 heading to Madrid from Havana.  It’s an incredible story; recounted for us by Jose Reyes in this weeks edition of the Cubanology Bi-Weekly. He and Alfredo from El Cafe Cubano are interviewing Mr. Socarras tonight at 8:30 PM EST, on the Blog Talk Radio show, “Speak Your Mind.”  The call in number for the show is 646) 915-9812.  Don’t miss this chance to hear Armando talk about his daring escape to freedom!

Searching for “The Shift” Part 12

This is the 12th in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.

In this part I wanted to examine how the three Cuban-American congressional incumbents from South Florida fared in comparison to John McCain. In order to do this I had to total presidential election results for the 587 different precincts that comprise the three districts in the county (because I’m interested in the Cuban-American vote I only looked at Miami-Dade County’s election results even though the three districts contain parts of other counties).

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As you can see above John McCain actually lost the Miami-Dade portions of two of the congressional districts.

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Of course we know that all three incumbents won but it’s telling that their personal popularity is significantly higher than McCain’s was. They not only achieved higher PERCENTAGES than McCain, they received more ACTUAL VOTES than McCain. That is to say that the three candidates did not win because of the substantial number of voters who came to the polls on election day only to vote for Obama.
There’s already been a flurry of news stories about polls indicating that a majority Cuban-Americans are against the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The above elections results show that such polls are B.S. The three congresspersons that were re-elected last month are the staunchest defenders of the embargo and also represent the greatest number of Cuban-Americans in the country. The people have spoken.

Another remarkable thing to note is the total rejection of Raul Martinez in the District 21 race. In 2006 an unknown Democrat named Frank J. Gonzalez ran against Lincoln Diaz-Balart and obtained 36.7% of the vote in Miami-Dade despite only raising $16,430. Martinez, the much ballyhooed former mayor of Hialeah, was only able to obtain 40.2% even after raising almost $1.9 million and that doesn’t even include the substantial money spent by the Democratic party on the race.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 11

This is the eleventh in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
2004-2008.jpg
The chart above shows the 2004 and 2008 election results in the 6 zip codes I’ve analyzed. These are 6 of the most Cuban zip codes in the county.
As you can see the net gain for the Democratic candidate was 4.4%. Hardly the monumental shift that the local and national media was projecting. In fact voters in these precincts preferred John McCain to Obama by a margin of more than 2-1. I have no doubt that even this minor shift was driven partly by younger Cubans who voted for Obama but it’s not clear whether their votes were driven by ideology (meaning that they identify themselves as liberal Democrats) or simply because of anti-Bush sentiment, the economy and the charisma of Obama.
Notes: The population statistics are from the 2000 census and are therefore outdated but are the best I could obtain.
Also note the vast differences in total votes from one election to the other. That’s because absentee ballots were handled differently in 2004. They were attributed to “absentee precincts” rather than the traditional precinct the voter belonged to. In 2008 all ballots are attributed to the voter’s precinct.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 10

This is the tenth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 6, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33010 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 66.1% Cuban. We discovered that in those 10 precincts John McCain obtained 63.2% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the 6 precincts (there was a new one in 2008 that didn’t exist in 2004) George W. Bush obtained 70.9% of the vote. That’s a shift of 7.7%. This is more of a shift than we’ve seen in the other zip codes thus far. Consider that the proportion of Cubans in each zip code could also be shifting.
There are some other pretty big caveats to this analysis. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect the county’s revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 9

This is the ninth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 4, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33144 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 69.7% Cuban. We discovered that in those 7 precincts John McCain obtained 69.7% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the same 7 precincts George W. Bush obtained 70.4% of the vote. That’s a shift of 0.7%.
There are some pretty big caveats to this analysis however. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the county’s revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 8

This is the seventh in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 1, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33175 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 56.6% Cuban. We discovered that in those 14 precincts John McCain obtained 68.7% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the same 14 precincts George W. Bush obtained 71.8% of the vote. That’s a shift of 3.2%.
There are some pretty big caveats to this analysis however. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 7

This is the seventh in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
In Part 3, I analyzed the precincts that are located in the 33165 zip code. According to 2000 census estimates (the latest info I could get) the zip code is 61.3% Cuban. We discovered that in those 16 precincts John McCain obtained 68.6% of the vote.
Well I went back to the 2004 election results and found that in the same 16 precincts George W. Bush obtained 71.5% of the vote. That’s a shift of 2.9%.
There are some pretty big caveats to this analysis however. First off some of the precinct boundaries have changed and even the locations of the precinct houses have changed. One precinct house was actually was moved to a neighboring zip code. However the precincts still generally represent the same areas. The next caveat is that absentee ballots were reported differently back then. They had something called absentee precincts. Nowadays all ballots are attributed to the voters precinct regardless of whether the voted absentee or on election day (or early voted).
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post has been edited to reflect the county’s revised election results as of 11/14/08.

Searching for “the shift”, a partial recap

So far, since the election, I have analyzed six of the most high density Cuban zip codes in Miami-Dade County. The aggregate Cuban density in these zip codes is 64.5% according to 2000 census data.
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As the table above indicates, 67.6% of the votes cast for president in these six zip codes were cast for John McCain. Remember that McCain only got 41.7% of the vote in the county. This a testament to the continued identification of Cuban-Americans with Republican candidates.
Assuming that Cuban-Americans are more likely to vote for the GOP candidate than the non-Cuban 33.5% living in these zips, and also assuming that the electorate resembles the overall population, then it follows that McCain’s percentage for these zips is a baseline and that Cuban-Americans voted for McCain at a rate higher than the the baseline with the non-Cubans bringing it down to the baseline.
I’ll be trying to do a comparison to 2004 (although the precinct boundaries changed a bit). To see how much movement there was toward Obama relative to what Kerry got in those same zips. I suspect there was some movement but questions still remain:
1. Was the movement “generational”?
2. If so, was it ideological or simply a reflection of the generalized (but perhaps temporary) anti-GOP sentiment out there, discontent with economy, and the general appeal of Obama?
This second point is an important distinction. Remember that proponents of the “shift” basically allege that.
Older Cubans are Republicans because of the Cuba issue and young US-born Cuban-Americans don’t care about Cuba therefore young Cuban-Americans are “smarter” and more willing to embrace flaming liberalism.
I don’t believe that young Cuban-Americans (as a whole) have embraced flaming liberalism any more than than the rest of the country. We shall see.

Other posts in this series can be found here.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 6

This is the sixth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
Each time I will be examining a different zip code with a high proportion of Cuban-Americans living in it. This time it’s 33010.
33010.jpg
As you can see from the map above this zip code is basically the southern end of Hialeah.
Unfortunately the demographic data that I can obtain is somewhat dated (2000 census):
Total pop: 45,353 (100%)
Hispanic: 41,439 (91.4%)
Cuban: 29,982 (66.1%)
Median age: 39.4
So this an area that is more than 60% Cuban (at least in 2000).
There are 10 different precincts located in this zip code that reported results. For reference they are: 333 335 339 340 342 376 380 381 382 and 387.
A total of 10,414 votes for president were cast in these precincts.
John McCain received 6,583 of those votes or 63.2%
Barack Obama received 3,800 or 36.5%
Again we don’t exactly know how many of those votes were cast by Cubans or the median age of those Cubans but it’s pretty clear that this area like the others we’ve looked at thus far with it’s large Cuban population was firmly in McCain’s camp.
This is another zip where McCain’s percentage is lower than Cuban pop. That would suggest that the Cubans in this zip were (at least slightly) less likely to vote for McCain than in other zips. But again the census data is from 2000 and doesn’t necessarily reflect voters but population instead.
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.

Searching for “The Shift” Part 5

This is the fifth in a series of analyses of the election results to see whether or not the Cubans are abandoning the GOP. Other posts in this series can be found here.
Each time I will be examining a different zip code with a high proportion of Cuban-Americans living in it. This time it’s 33013.
33013.jpg
As you can see from the map above this zip code is basically the eastern side of Hialeah.
Unfortunately the demographic data that I can obtain is somewhat dated (2000 census):
Total pop: 33,365 (100%)
Hispanic: 30,134 (90.3%)
Cuban: 24,388 (73.1%)
Median age: 41.2
So this an area that is almost 3/4 Cuban (at least in 2000).
There are 8 different precincts located in this zip code that reported results. For reference they are: 314 315 329 330 337 338 378 and 379.
A total of 9,406 votes for president were cast in these precincts.
John McCain received 6,441 of those votes or 68.5%
Barack Obama received 2,920 or 31.0%
Again we don’t exactly know how many of those votes were cast by Cubans or the median age of those Cubans but it’s pretty clear that this area like the others we’ve looked at thus far with it’s large Cuban population was firmly in McCain’s camp.
This is the first zip that I analyze where McCain’s percentage is lower than Cuban pop. That would suggest that the Cubans in this zip were (at least slightly) less likely to vote for McCain than in other zips. But again the census data is from 2000 and doesn’t necessarily reflect voters but population instead.
The high cuban density zips I’ve analyzed thus far suggest that Obama probably topped out somewhere below 30% for Cubans.
Until next time, I’ll be searching for the shift.
UPDATE: This post was edited to reflect the county’s election results as of 11/14/08.