Opening to Cuba: more popular in Florida than Trump’s hardline

President Donald Trump’s new Cuba policy is less popular (13 points less) in Florida than the normalization of relations initiated in 2014 by his White House predecessor, Barack Obama, but in addition it has made the current president’s approval rating go down, according to a poll published on June 20.

A 34 percent of Floridians approved the toughening of the policy toward Cuba announced last week in Miami by Trump, as compared to 47 percent that says they support Obama’s thawing, according to the Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Business and Economics Polling Initiative (BEPI) survey.

This Florida Boca Ratón-based public university demographic firm asked a sample of 500 residents in that U.S. southeastern state online for their opinion about the toughening of the Cuba policy decided by Trump. The poll has a 4.3 percent margin of error.

The president, who made the announcement on Friday 16 in a theater full of representatives of the powerful Cuban-American and Cuban exile community in Miami, has lost popularity among the inhabitants of Florida after forwarding those measures, the authors of the poll carried out between June 16 and 18 pointed out.

In a FAU BEPI poll in March Trump’s approval rating in Florida was 36 percent and now it is 35 percent. The effect in Trump’s disapproval rating is worse, going from 38 percent in March to 44 percent in the last survey.

The principal measure announced by Trump – the ban on doing business with companies linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba – is backed by 43 percent of the respondents, while 25 percent is against and 33 percent says they are undecided.

The new restrictions on travel to Cuba has a 44 percent backing and a 32 percent rejection rating among the respondents. The percentage of those who have not made up their mind is 24 percent.

The fact that the embassy remains open in Havana has a 61 percent approval rating, 13 percent of rejection and 15 percent with no opinion.

The survey also reveals Floridians are skeptical about Trump’s policies improving the life of common Cubans. Only 21 percent that they will improve the standard of living of the island’s people, while 36 percent believes they will worsen and 43 percent that they do not expect changes.

Professor Mónica Escaleras, director of BEPI, said that overall, Floridians support more Barack Obama’s Cuba policy, while Trump’s approval rating continues dropping.

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