Puerto Ricans and Cubans are often viewed as more politically conservative compared to other major Hispanic populations in the United States. This conservative leaning stems from several key factors tied to their histories and immigrant experiences:
Both Puerto Ricans and Cubans have deep anti-communist views rooted in experience with socialist regimes back home
. Cubans fled Fidel Castro’s communist revolution, leading to strongly negative perceptions of leftist policies. Puerto Rico had an influential pro-independence socialist movement in the 1950s-60s that was rejected by the mainstream. These political backgrounds engender skepticism of liberal policies deemed socialist.
Cubans strongly relate to their past as political refugees fleeing a repressive regime. This shapes an anti-leftist stance. Conservative policies are seen as safeguarding the liberties denied in communist Cuba. Puerto Ricans don’t have the same refugee identity, but many migrated to escape poor economic conditions and political unrest, leading to similar conservative leanings.
Both populations are predominantly Catholic, a more traditional and conservative religious background. Cuban and Puerto Rican values around issues like abortion and gay marriage tend to skew conservative in line with Catholic doctrine. The Church remains influential in both communities.
Cuban-Americans and Puerto Ricans have high rates of small business ownership and entrepreneurship. This self-reliance fosters wariness of taxes, regulation and other liberal economic policies that can impact businesses. Conservatism supports free enterprise.
As U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and Cuba foster stronger ties to American identity even before migrating. This facilitates faster assimilation to mainstream U.S. values versus immigrants from fully foreign nations. Newer generations in particular gravitate conservative.
Heavily based in Florida, Cuban-Americans hold significant sway in a critical swing state, increasing their political influence. Puerto Ricans are concentrated in the Northeast, another more moderate/conservative leaning region. Geographic isolation from the Southwest liberalism.
Despite Hispanic ethnicity, Cubans and Puerto Ricans often view themselves as “white” in contrast to mestizo identities of other Latin American immigrants. This shapes political views in a more conservative direction aligned with white America.
Paths to Citizenship
As U.S. citizens by birth, Puerto Ricans have no immigration hurdles. Cubans enjoy special expedited paths to citizenship unavailable to most other Hispanics. This facilitates integration and conservative political leanings.