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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio took 52 percent of Hispanic vote vs. 27 percent for Donald Trump



Marco Rubio took 52 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida vs. 27 percent for Donald Trump, according to exit polls.

Hispanics made up 17 percent of the GOP primary electorate in Florida. They made up 20 percent on the Democratic side and went for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders by a 72-28 percent margin.

Immigration ranked fourth among Republicans as the top issue (12%), behind economy/jobs (35%), government spending (26%), and terrorism (22%).

By a 53%-38% margin, Florida Republicans believe undocumented immigrants should be offered legal status (54%) instead of deported (38%).

Frank Sharry of America's Voice said Rubio's contortions on immigration reform were "an embarrassment."

"Marco Rubio's cautionary tale is not that he stood up for immigration reform, it's that he didn't," Sharry said on a conference call to discuss the exit polls.

"There are so many Cuban-American Republicans who have had this tradition of standing up for immigration reform, from Mel Martinez to Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtine and Mario Diaz-Balart and people like Al Cardenas. Rubio running from it was really an embarrassment. He could have stood up and said, 'Look, not only are we going to solve the problem but here are some of the aspects of the bill that I fought for that are very conservative that would have been real instead of all this talk of walls.' He didn't. He listened to his pollsters. ... He had a very confused message that was again trying to be all things for all people and ultimately it became a character issue for him."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 10:59am]


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