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Polls Show Cuban-American Views On U.S.-Cuba Relations Are Nuanced

Men play chess at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting.
Roberto Schmidt
AFP/Getty Images
Men play chess at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting.

With news that the United States will work toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing the embargo, there is already talk about the reaction in the Cuban-American community.

In political terms, this is a major voting bloc in the hugely important swing state of Florida.

The assumption is that Cuban-Americans support punitive policies against Havana, but over the years, polls show that attitude has changed significantly, even among older emigres.

As we reported back in June, most Cuban-Americans oppose the embargo.

Florida International University in Miami has been polling Cuban-Americans since 1991. Back then, 87 percent of Cuban-Americans supported the embargo, but after President Obama was elected in 2008, that shifted completely. For the first time in the poll's history, most Cuban-Americans said they disapproved of the U.S. embargo.

By 2011, that Obama effect had disappeared, Professor Guillermo J. Grenier, a co-principal investigator of the FIU Cuba Poll, told us. But in the 2014 poll, conducted this summer, a majority once again favored lifting the embargo.

Here's a few numbers from that poll:

-- 68 percent of respondents favor restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba.

-- Among younger respondents, 90 percent of respondents favor restoring diplomatic ties.

-- When you include only registered voters, 51 percent of them support continuing the embargo.

-- 69 percent of all respondents favor the lifting of travel restrictions impeding all Americans from traveling to Cuba.

-- 53 percent of respondents said they would be likely to vote for a "candidate for political office who supported the re-establishment of diplomatic relations."

-- A large majority — 71 percent — responded that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has not worked at all or has not worked very well.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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