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Research Report

US-CUBA: A New Public Survey Supports Policy Change

Copyright Date: Feb. 11, 2014
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 32
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 2-3)
    Peter Schechter and Jason Marczak

    Why is now the right moment to commission a poll on the US public’s views toward Cuba and US-Cuba relations? Why is a new, nonpartisan Latin America center reaching out to grab the third rail of Latin American foreign policy in the United States? Both good questions.

    Sometimes in foreign policy, structural impediments or stark policy differences will stymie progress in a certain area. Relations with China could not proceed until the United States recognized a “one China” policy that forever downgraded US relations with Taiwan. An activist foreign policy with Africa was impossible until the United States denounced apartheid....

  2. (pp. 5-6)

    For over fifty years, the United States has imposed a comprehensive trade embargo against Cuba. This survey looks at whether there is overall support for normalizing US relations (or, engaging more directly) with Cuba as well as changing individual aspects of US-Cuba policy such as travel restrictions, trade and investment opportunities, and diplomatic engagement. Respondents also were asked to respond to factual statements about Cuba and react to arguments in support or against the embargo. The poll carefully documents the demographics and political leanings of the respondents.

    A majority of Americans from every region and across party lines support normalizing...

  3. (pp. 7-7)

    The survey was conducted in English and Spanish from January 7 to January 22, 2014, with a nationwide margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent (Florida, +/-4.0 percent and Latinos, +/-4.4 percent) at the 95 percent confidence interval. Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cell phones. In addition to a benchmark sample of 1,024 randomly-selected US adults age 18 and over, the survey includes additional oversamples with notable results from the 617 Florida residents and the 525 Latinos interviewed.

    A bipartisan polling team of Paul Maslin and Glen Bolger conducted the survey.

    Paul Maslin is one of the leading observers...

  4. (pp. 8-23)

    Respondents were asked to rank the closeness of the United States’ relationship with various countries using a 1-7 scale. This question helped determine understanding of the current status of the United States’ international relationships. An overwhelming majority of people indicated very close ties to England, with a strong majority also ranking the US relationship with Iran as very weak, which signifies baseline knowledge of current status. Among the countries tested, respondents—nationwide as well as Floridians and Latinos—began the poll with an understanding that the United States had the poorest relationship (which involves no diplomatic relations and a prohibition on trade...

  5. (pp. 24-27)

    Cuba, an island nation of 11 million people, has become a boulder-sized pebble in the shoes of US relations with a region of over 580 million people. More than five decades after it was first implemented, the Cuba embargo is hampering the United States’ ability to maximize cooperation with allies in the hemisphere at a moment when there is increasing stability, growth, and opportunity.

    US policy toward Cuba—a web of laws and regulations designed to force regime change in Havana—has not produced its intended results as Fidel Castro maintained power for five decades, and, in 2006, successfully transferred power to...