Majority in poll backs Obama’s Cuba plan

th1VRS5T4AMost Americans support the Obama administration’s moves to normalize relations with Cuba and would back the broader step of lifting the overall trade embargo on the country, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

Sixty-three percent of Americans say they approve of the president’s plan to re-establish diplomatic ties, which will also make travel and commerce between the U.S. and Cuba easier for some groups.

Even more, 66 percent in the survey released Friday said they would approve of lifting the larger embargo, which only Congress can do.Though proponents of the plan have argued that it will increase modernization in Cuba, Americans remain skeptical that Cuba will become more democratic because of the change in diplomatic policy. Sixty percent of adults believe Cuba’s governance situation will remain the same as it is now, while 32 percent believe it will become more democratic, the poll found.

Approval of the plan splits on party lines. A majority of Democrats and independents support the plan, while 40 percent of Republicans do. Fifty-five percent of conservative Republicans say they oppose the plan.

The deal to normalize relations also included the release of an American citizen being held by the Cuban government as well as another man accused of spying for the U.S. It was reportedly negotiated over the course of a year and a half.

Some lawmakers have slammed the deal as providing assistance to the Castro brothers, who rule the country and are despised by the Cuban exile community in the U.S. Critical lawmakers have said they will do what they can to block the creation of a new embassy in Havana.

The poll had a sample size of 1,504 adults and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. It was conducted from January 7-11.

By David McCabe,
January 16, 2015

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