A majority (56%) favor the just-announced change in direction toward Cuba, according to a brand new poll by Zogby Analytics. About one in four (27%) disagree and 17% are not sure.
The new poll was conducted December 17 and 18 among 881 likely voters nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.4 percentage points.
The actual question read was: After more than fifty years of an embargo against Cuba, President Obama announced today that he is moving to normalize relations with the Communist nation. This involves reopening the American Embassy and easing travel restrictions to Cuba. Do you agree or disagree with this new policy? Democrats and independents lined up strongly behind the new policy - Democrats agree 77% to only 6% who disagree, while 56% of independents agree 56% to 29% who disagree. Majorities who support the new policy also include 18-29 year olds (60% to 16%), 30-49 year olds (62% to 22%), and 50-64 year olds (55% to 29%), liberals (74% to 4%) and moderates (66% to 18%), whites (51% to 32%), Hispanics (70% to 21%), African Americans (80% to 6%), Catholics (61% to 27%), and voters sympathetic to Wall Street (86% to 8%).
Opposition came mainly from Republicans (32% agree, 49% disagree), conservatives (35% to 46%), and voters over 65 years of age (41% to 49%). Born-again/Evangelicals were evenly split (37%-37% and even those sympathetic to the Tea Party were 42% in favor and 50% opposed.
It appears that the change in policy has solid support from the electorate. Even the intensity factor favored supporters with 27% strongly agreeing with the President and only 14% strongly disagreeing. Republicans may find a short-term rallying cry among their base of conservatives and older voters, but may soon discover that opposition to the new Cuba initiative is not an albatross they will want to wear around their necks going into the 2016 presidential election cycle. In the meantime, there will be new American travelers, tourists, investors, and consumers of Cuban of products - and they will have stories to tell. The new diplomatic communications will also solidify United States relationships with Latin America, a sign of respect to the growing numbers of Hispanic voters. Americans seem to understand that the policy of isolating Cuba has not really work and we are now opening up to a country with a brutal regime (like China, Russia, Myanmar, and elsewhere where we have diplomatic relations) and a population over more than 11 million people - about the size of Pennsylvania or Illinois, two of our biggest states.