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Poll finds Florida Cuban Americans opposed to engaging with Havana

Poll finds Florida Cuban Americans opposed to engaging with Havana
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About two-thirds of Cuban American voters in Florida said they would not support policies by the Biden administration to return to a period of reengagement and normalization of relations with Havana, according to a new poll released Tuesday. 

The study, conducted by management and consulting firm Bendixen & Amandi International, found that following former President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE’s more hardline policies toward the island nation, 66 percent said that they do not think President BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE should revert to reengagement. 

The finding marks a shift from the 51 percent in 2015 who supported then-President Obama’s commitment to normalizing relations with Cuba. 

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Additionally, while 56 percent of Cuban American voters in Florida supported easing restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Cuba in 2015, the same percentage in Tuesday’s poll either somewhat or strongly opposed doing so. 

Fernand Amandi, president of Bendixen & Amandi, told Politico on Tuesday that the survey’s findings show a “Back to the Future” moment for the largest Latino voting bloc in Florida, with positions now similar to hardline views they held in the 1980s and 1990s. 

“We see the Cuban-American electorate has recalibrated and defaulted back to the hardline positions,” Amandi said.

Cuban American voters in the Sunshine State became more favorable to open relations with the country under Obama, who removed Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list and lifted trade and travel restrictions on the country. 

However, the Trump administration’s return to these restrictions, as well as his campaign’s continued engagement with Cuban American voters in the state, have helped fuel a return to more hardline views toward Havana. 

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The Trump administration in its final days added Cuba back to the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list, and on Friday, GOP Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal Rising violent crime poses new challenge for White House MORE (Fla.), Rick Scott (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry DeSantis tops Trump in 2024 presidential straw poll White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE (Texas) proposed a bill that would bar Biden or Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenPutin accuses US of organizing 2014 Ukraine coup China has declared information warfare against America — Biden must respond vigorously Envoy says US in talks to remove foreign forces in Libya ahead of elections MORE from removing the designation. 

Under the legislation, the U.S. cannot remove Cuba from the list until the Caribbean nation releases political prisoners and holds democratic elections.

However, Florida International University professor Guillermo Grenier told The Hill in January that throughout the next few years, hardline views could once again soften as they did under the Obama administration. 

“The hard-line has made a comeback, but there are plenty of soft spots in the hard-line, such as travel, consular services, remittances,” he said at the time. “So, I do think if Biden changes the rules, we will see further changes among Cuban voters.” 

Tuesday’s survey, conducted from March 8 to March 11, reported a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.