In case you might have missed it, the New Yorker recently had an interesting article about the Cuban vote in Miami.
The Cuban vote is changing in Miami. The old "historicos" are losing influence -- CANF is now run by folks at odds with the more conservative Cuban exiles. However, Elian is a fresh memory and many Cubans who would normally support Dems (like the 30% who voted for Clinton) are still bearing a grudge and hurt towards the party. That said, it wouldn't take much to overcome this and post a slight improvement and win for Kerry. The rest of Florida is trending in Kerry's favor (as the Panhandle redneck majority dwindles). If Kerry can improve Gore's terrible showing for Cuban votes (by selecting the right VP category), Florida may well be his. Here's a graf and a link to the article.
"Florida politics is deli style," a national Republican operative who has often worked in the state said. "You have so many different groups--the Cubans, of course, but also seniors, Jews, all the other Hispanics, blacks, white veterans up in the Panhandle. The trick to winning Florida is to protect your blocs while slicing some votes off the other guy's blocs. This year, for instance, W. could get significant Jewish votes if he handles the Mideast right." John Kerry, conversely, could do well among the Panhandle veterans, who have voted Republican (while remaining registered Democrats) in recent years. "Obviously, the Cuban vote is critical to winning Florida," the operative went on. "And the fact that W. might be weaker among core Cuban voters is going to make the state much more difficult." Nelson Reyneri, a senior Democratic Latino strategist, recently told the Miami Herald, "If we peel off even a small amount of the Cuban-American vote, we win." Every vote in Florida will count this year.