Florida Voters Split on Best Path Forward for Cuba

Covid-19 has roiled the island of Cuba like nothing else since the Battle of Santa Clara in 1958 that led to the ascension of Fidel Castro and the imposition of the United States embargo of the island. To determine how people in Florida are viewing the current protests against the Cuban government as a result of deteriorating living conditions and the lack of medical attention amid another spike in coronavirus infections, we interviewed 1,160 registered voters across Florida from July 19-21, 2021.

This story has widely penetrated the consciousness of Floridians. More than two-thirds (71%) say they are following this story closely. This includes 97% of Cubans and 79% of Republicans.

When it comes to the immediate issue of the best way to mitigate the suffering of the Cuban people, Floridians are split. A third (34%) support continuing the embargo of sale of food, medicine, and other goods to keep pressure on the Cuban government while 44% support lifting the embargo to provide Covid-19 vaccines and alleviate hunger and other suffering Cubans are currently facing. Another 23% are not sure where they stand on this. Republicans and Cubans are most supportive of continuing the embargo while Democrats and African-Americans are most supportive of lifting it.

More long-term, voters split on what Joe Biden should prioritize going forward with respect to Cuba. Four in 10 voters (42%) support focusing on getting aid to Cubans during this crisis regardless of what happens to the Cuban government while a similar share (40%) believe in supporting protesters with the ultimate goal of overthrowing Cuban government. Cubans and Republicans are more supportive of backing the protestors while Democrats and African-Americans prioritize aid and relief to the people of Cuba.

There are no easy answers for the challenges facing the Biden Administration in Cuba at this time when it comes to balancing the desires for freedom and democracy with the pressing health and nutritional needs the Cuban people face. Accomplishing both at the same time will define success for the Biden Administration.