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Poll finds support by Miami-Dade Cubans for ending embargo fading

A new survey from the Cuban Research Institute (CRI) at Florida International University (FIU) shows a slight majority of the Cuban community in Miami-Dade County now favors maintaining the embargo between the U.S. and Cuba.

That’s a shift from the last version of FIU’s poll in 2016, which showed 54 percent opposing continuation of the embargo.

The 2018 version of the survey was conducted from Nov. 14 to Dec. 1 and is the first version that has run since President Donald Trump was inaugurated. That could indicate Trump’s shifting of Cuba policy from the Barack Obama administration is having an effect on the South Florida Cuban community, which still leans Republican.

The newest poll shows 51 percent of Cubans favor continuing the embargo, while 49 percent oppose it. That near-perfect split masks divisions between different age ranges among the Cuban community.

Among those not born in Cuba, 60 percent oppose the embargo. The percentage is the same among those who migrated from Cuba between 1995 and 2018.

But among older generations, the numbers are reversed. For those who migrated to the U.S. between 1980 and 1994, 58 percent support maintaining the embargo. That numbers are even larger for those who migrated here before 1980, with 68 percent supporting the embargo.

Similar divisions exist among age ranges, regardless of when respondents migrated, with support for the embargo increasing among older demographics.

That split exists despite the fact that every age group surveyed by FIU says the embargo has not worked “at all.” Majorities in every age range agreed with that sentiment. And those older than 76 were actually the most likely to agree, with 65 percent saying the embargo had not worked “at all.”

Nevertheless, those that fled the communist regime before 1994 remain reticent to remove the embargo entirely.

The poll was conducted by Guillermo Grenier and Hugh Gladwin, who work as professors at FIU. The surveys have run intermittently since 1991. All of the previous results can be seen on the CRI’s website.

Trump has moved away from Obama’s efforts to ease relations with Cuba, restricting travel and business ties available to U.S. citizens as well as defending the embargo overall.

The President has also been under pressure from Florida Republicans such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart to nix a recent deal made between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation to allow Cuban players to make their way to the U.S.

Rubio and Diaz-Balart have argued required payments under the deal constitute payoffs to the Cuban government in violation of the embargo.

FIU’s newest survey did find 63 percent of Miami-Dade Cubans in favor of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. Obama made a move to restore those relations back in 2014.

A majority of voters remain registered Republicans, though that number has dropped by double digits since the late 1990s and early 2000s, going from the high-60s to just 55 percent in 2018.

As for the recent midterms in Florida, a majority of each group split by the year they migrated to the U.S. voted for Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial election. That margin was smallest for those born in the U.S. Those who migrated before 1980 were significantly in favor of DeSantis, with 84 percent voting for the GOP candidate.

Similar trends existed in the race for U.S. Senate. The vote was split 50/50 between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott among Cuban Americans born in the states. But Scott earned clear majorities in the other three groups.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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