“People in the continental U.S. think that Puerto Ricans are going to vote Democratic, but on the other hand, the conservative values and Latin traditions are more akin to the values of a Republican Party,” said José Garriga Picó, a political scientist and former member of the Puerto Rican Legislature. “You can’t really predict what voters are going to do here.”
Some of the assumption that Puerto Rico would go blue is based on the fact that Puerto Ricans, when they move to the mainland, are often a reliable Democratic vote. A POLITICO poll from last spring asked Puerto Rican voters in Florida about their political preferences. It found that 38 percent of respondents identified as Democrats, but 42 percent said they weren’t committed to either party.
Both major islandwide elected officials in Puerto Rico are registered Republicans, as is the sitting governor, who was installed by the island’s Supreme Court. Puerto Rico’s Legislature, which has made a mark in recent years by enacting conservative laws including restrictions on abortion and expressions of gender identity, is led by registered Republicans in both its House and Senate. Seven of the past eight elections for governor or resident commissioner were won by members of the New Progressive Party, the more conservative of the island’s main parties—including the territory’s current nonvoting member of Congress, Jenniffer González-Colón, who is a member of the NPP, the chairwoman of the Puerto Rican Republican Party and a former co-chair of Latinos for Trump.