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Polls Show Cuban-American Views On U.S.-Cuba Relations Are Nuanced

Men play chess at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Men play chess at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting.

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

With news that the United States will work toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing the embargo, there is already talk about the reaction in the Cuban-American community.

In political terms, this is a major voting bloc in the hugely important swing state of Florida.

The assumption is that Cuban-Americans support punitive policies against Havana, but over the years, polls show that attitude has changed significantly, even among older emigres.

As we reported back in June, most Cuban-Americans oppose the embargo.

Florida International University in Miami has been polling Cuban-Americans since 1991. Back then, 87 percent of Cuban-Americans supported the embargo, but after President Obama was elected in 2008, that shifted completely. For the first time in the poll's history, most Cuban-Americans said they disapproved of the U.S. embargo.

By 2011, that Obama effect had disappeared, Professor Guillermo J. Grenier, a co-principal investigator of the FIU Cuba Poll, told us. But in the 2014 poll, conducted this summer, a majority once again favored lifting the embargo.

Here's a few numbers from that poll:

— 68 percent of respondents favor restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba.

— Among younger respondents, 90 percent of respondents favor restoring diplomatic ties.

— When you include only registered voters, 51 percent of them support continuing the embargo.

— 69 percent of all respondents favor the lifting of travel restrictions impeding all Americans from traveling to Cuba.

— 53 percent of respondents said they would be likely to vote for a "candidate for political office who supported the re-establishment of diplomatic relations."

— A large majority — 71 percent — responded that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has not worked at all or has not worked very well.

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