MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A poll by Florida International University shows shifting attitudes among Cuban Americans when asked about U.S. policy toward Cuba.
When asked about the U.S. embargo, the poll found that most Cuban-Americans don’t think much of it. About 71 percent said it doesn’t work while 29 percent said it does work.
Asked if the embargo should be lifted, 52 percent said it should, while 48 percent said it should stay.
Miami Herald reporter Juan Tamayo, who cover Cuba-related issues for the newspaper, said the poll shows attitudes are changing albeit slowly.
“It sort of confirms a trend we’ve been seeing of sagging support for things like the embargo and more support for increased relations with Cuba,” Tamayo said.
The poll found that most Cuban Americans favor increasing economic relations with Cuba. About 48 percent favor expanded trade with the island, while 28 percent want it to stay the same and 24 percent would like to see it stopped.
“The poll shows there is a general sense of interest in increased economic relations with Cuba,” Tamayo said.
In fact, 68 percent of those polled favor normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, while 32 percent oppose it.
About 63 percent of those polled want to keep Cuba on the U.S. list of nations that support terrorism, while 37 percent want it taken off the list.
At the same time, 69 percent favor unrestricted travel to the island, while 31 percent are against it.
FIU has been monitoring the changing attitudes of Cuban-Americans since 1991. Tamayo thinks the changes are partly due to the changing demographics of the Cuban exile community.
“There is a demographic shift in the community,” Tamayo said. “More younger people are here and the older generations are shrinking.”
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) disagreed with the poll calling it, “highly flawed” and releasing the following statement, “The methodology of the newest FIU poll was so highly flawed that the results do not merit to be taken seriously. As an example, according to the pollster, 62% of respondents are U.S. citizens, but 90% are registered voters, giving a clear indication of manipulated numbers. In the polls that matter – elections – Cuban-Americans have repeatedly expressed their opposition to unilaterally weakening sanctions against the Castro dictatorship until there is a genuine democratic transition on the island.”