Poll shows broad support for Obama’s decision to open embassies with Cuba

A solid majority of Americans support the United States’ renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and President Obama’s call to end a trade embargo that has existed between the two countries for more than 50 years.

More than seven in 10 Americans — 73 percent — approve of the U.S. reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, a 10 point rise since January. A similar majority — 72 percent — favor the U.S. ending its trade embargo against Cuba, a restriction that has been in place since the Kennedy administration, according to a new Pew poll released Tuesday.

While many Republicans oppose Obama’s reconciliation with Cuba, the high level of support for warming relations between the two countries is not extremely partisan. Fifty-six percent of Republicans say they approve of the U.S. reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, up 16 points since January. Democrats (83 percent) and Independents (75 percent) are still more likely to favor renewed ties with Cuba, and those numbers have risen in the last six months.

Only 43 percent of Americans think better diplomatic relations between the two countries will lead to democratic reforms in Cuba over the next several years. However, this is up 11 points since January. About half (49 percent) say they expect Cuba to stay about the same as it is now.

The poll of roughly 2,000 Americans was conducted July 14-20 with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The sample included 462 self-identified Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points, 643 Democrats with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, and 796 independents with a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Both countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals of Washington, D.C. and Havana on Monday. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to travel to Cuba on Aug. 14.

By Kelly Cohen, Washington Examiner

July 21, 2015

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