News about a Florida Poll, and reflections on travel and trade

30ff0d69a53a07c6ff16b16c481d5b83_XL[1]By a greater than two-to-one margin, Floridians favor opening diplomatic relations with Cuba, according to the Sunshine State Survey released this week.

When asked, “Do you favor freeing up diplomatic relations with Cuba?,” 56% of Floridians indicated support and only 26% opposed the idea.

While the fact that diplomacy with Cuba enjoys majority support in Florida is important by itself, and has been reported in surveys before, what is most interesting about this poll is who is expressing that support most:  respondents who live in Miami and Palm Beach.

The survey, conducted jointly by University of South Florida School of Public Affairs with Nielsen, shows the highest support for diplomatic relations in the counties with the highest representation of Cuban Americans in the United States.

Interestingly, Sunshine State Survey, in the field from July 30-August 16th, primarily had questions about the biggest threats to Florida’s economy.  In reporting the results, the University of South Florida factsheet said:

“There is strong support for economic development efforts aimed at keeping and expanding businesses and opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba.[our emphasis]”

By folding together the themes of economic growth and diplomacy with Cuba, the results reveal that all Floridians, but especially those in Miami and Palm Beach, are expressing views all but identical to the majority of Americans in the other 49 states who have understood and experienced Cuba from a greater distance, geographically, intellectually, and emotionally.

More and more, as these distinct perspectives merge, with the important policy actions taken by President Obama to remove restrictions on travel and trade through executive action, there is a lot more momentum behind those who want to think and act anew about Cuba policy, pulling away from the Florida–centric, sanctions–centric debate that prevailed for so long.

Cuba Central, Center for Democracy in the Americas

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