Poll: GOP has the support of Cuban Americans in Florida

The new poll shows that 66 percent of respondents did not support going back to Obama administration policies toward Cuba.

Updated: March 16, 2021 - 3:53pm

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A new poll of Cuban-American voters in Florida suggests a majority oppose President Biden re-engaging with Cuba's dictatorship and that their recent support of Democrats has been reversed.

During the Obama administration, data showed that the Cuban community’s opposition to Cuba had lessened, which resulted in Obama making a historic visit in 2016.

The visit brought on criticism from Florida Republicans, such as then-Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio.

The new poll, by Bendixen & Amandi International, shows 66 percent of respondents did not support going back to Obama administration policies toward Cuba. In a 2015 poll, 51 percent of those surveyed supported Obama's effort.

The poll also showed a drastic difference in support for maintaining the trade embargo against Cuba that had been around for decades. In 2015, just 36% supported keeping the embargo compared to 66 percent. The poll found 56% of those surveyed do not support the easing of travel restrictions.

"We see the Cuban-American electorate has recalibrated and defaulted back to the hardline positions," said Fernand Amandi, president of Bendixen & Amandi. 

Cuban-Americans are a big part of the Hispanic voters in Florida, and their support for Republicans in the past helped the party to be successful in the state. Republicans criticizing Democrats as being socialists has resonated with Cuban-Americans and other groups that fled socialist Latin American countries, particularly older voters. 

In 2016, Trump won over an estimated 54% of Cuban-American voters in Florida, compared to just 41% for challenger Hillary Clinton.

The new poll of 400 Cuban-American voters found 62% voted for Trump. That same support for Trump has held, as evidenced by the new poll, where 62 percent had a favorable view of him, compared to just 45 percent who had a favorable view of Biden.

The growth of Republican support from Cuban-Americans was shown in Miami-Dade County, where Trump won only 34 percent of the nearly 1 million votes in 2016. In 2020, he received 46 percent of the vote.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month that a "Cuba policy shift is not currently among President Biden’s top priorities." 

She did say the Biden administration was "carefully reviewing policy decisions made in the prior administration, including the decision to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism." Trump made the designation just before he left office.

The recent poll was conducted on March 8-11 and surveyed 400 registered Cuban-American voters. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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