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CBS NEWS/NEW YORK TIMES POLL

For release: Monday, March 21, 2016


7:00 am EDT

Support for Restoring U.S.-Cuba Relations


March 11-15, 2016

Amid President Barack Obamas historic trip to Cuba, a majority of Americans support
restoring U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties, and 52% approve of the Presidents handling of
relations with the island nation.

Six in 10 Americans think restoring diplomacy with Cuba is mostly good for the U.S., but
views are mixed on whether it will lead to more democracy in Cuba.

The public, however, doesnt share the Presidents goal of closing the prison at
Guantanamo Bay: 52% want it to remain open.

In December 2014 the President announced that U.S. and Cuba would resume diplomatic ties
after more than 50 years. 58% of Americans support this, while just 25% oppose. Most
Democrats and independents favor re-establishing diplomacy, while Republicans are divided.
Re-establishing Diplomatic Relations with Cuba
Total
Reps Dems Inds
Favor
58%
44% 69% 57%
Oppose
25
42
16
21
Dont know
18
15
15
22

7/2015
58
24
18

Americans have long supported this move. When Gallup asked a version of this question back
in 1977, 53% of Americans thought diplomatic relations with Cuba should be re-established.
While diplomacy may have resumed, the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba remains in effect.
55% of Americans favor the United States ending its trade embargo against Cuba.
Ending the U.S. Trade Embargo Against Cuba
Total
Reps Dems Inds
Favor
55%
43% 64% 56%
Oppose
27
38
18
26
Dont know
18
19
17
18

7/2015
54%
28
18

As President Obama visits Cuba the first for a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge 88
years ago more now approve of the Presidents handling of relations between the two
countries. 52% of Americans approve; a slight uptick from last summer and an increase of eight
points since 2014.
President Obamas Handling of Relations with Cuba
Now 7/2015
12/2014
Approve
52% 50%
44%
Disapprove
30
31
36
Dont know
18
20
20

While Republicans may be split on the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba, a majority of
them disapprove of how the President is handling relations with that country.
President Obamas Handling of Relations with Cuba
Total
Reps Dems Inds
Approve
52%
23% 78% 50%
Disapprove
30
55
12
28
Dont know
18
22
10
22
Impact of Renewed Relations on Cuba, U.S.
When asked what impact restored relations will have on Cuba, Americans are inclined to think it
will lead to more democracy (40%) rather than less (3%), however, half think it will make no
difference.
On the other hand, most Americans think it will benefit the U.S; 62% think re-establishing
relations with Cuba will be mostly good for the U.S. Republicans are less likely to view it that
way than Democrats and independents.
Re-establishing Diplomatic Relations with Cuba Will..
Total
Reps Dems Inds
Lead to more Democracy for Cuba 40%
32% 52% 36%
Lead to less Democracy for Cuba
3
3
3
36
No difference
50
59
40
52
Be mostly good for the U.S.
Be mostly bad for the U.S.
Dont know

62%
24
15

49%
39
13

72%
17
11

62%
20
18

Currently, Cuban citizens who arrive at a U.S. port of entry and pass an inspection can stay in
the U.S. and apply for legal permanent residence after a year. Just a quarter of Americans think
this policy should stay in place, while most think Cuban immigrants should now be treated like
other immigrants trying to enter the U.S.
Cuban Immigrants To the U.S.
Total Reps Dems Inds
Keep current policy
23% 22% 27% 21%
Same as other immigrants
69
72
64
70
Views of Cuba, Travel
Overall, Americans views of Cuba have grown more positive recently. 51% now have a
favorable impression of Cuba (similar to what a Gallup poll found in February). Prior to this year,
Gallup polling consistently showed more negative than positive views of Cuba. Back in 1996,
nearly nine in 10 Americans viewed the country unfavorably.

Now
2/2016
2/2014
2/2011
2/2004
5/1999
3/1996

Americans Views of Cuba


Favorable
Unfavorable
51%
32
54%
40
38%
57
30%
62
28%
67
24
69
10
81

(CBS)
(Gallup)
(Gallup)
(Gallup)
(Gallup)
(Gallup)
(Gallup)

There are partisan differences: Most Democrats (56%) view Cuba favorably, compared to just
over a third of Republicans (36%).
As favorable opinions of Cuba have risen so has interest in taking a trip there. 43% of
Americans now say they would be very or somewhat interested in visiting Cuba, up 10 points
from the fall of 2014. Still, traveling to Cuba doesnt appeal to most Americans 57% have little
or no interest.
Younger Americans have a greater desire than older Americans to go to Cuba. Along political
lines, Democrats (49%) are more interested in such a trip than Republicans (24%).
How Interested Are You in Visiting Cuba?
Now 10/2014*
1/2011
Very/somewhat
43% 33%
32
Not very/Not at all
57
65
68
*New York Times Poll

Since assuming office, it has been a goal of President Obamas to close the U.S. military prison
in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and last month he sent his plan to Congress.
But the public disagrees with the President on this issue. 52% of Americans want to see the
prison remain open, including most Republicans and independents. A slim majority of
Democrats wants Guantanamo Bay to be closed.
What Should Happen to Guantanamo Bay Prison?
Total Reps Dems Inds 1/2015
Continue to operate
52% 74% 38% 48% 56%
Close it
38
19
52
39
35
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------This poll was conducted by telephone March 11-15, 2016 among a random sample of 1,022 adults
nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News and the New York Times by SSRS of
Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.
The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly
selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person
who answered the phone. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers.
The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables.
The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage
points. The error for other subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error
includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.
This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

CBS NEWS POLL


Support for Restoring U.S.-Cuba Relations
March 11-15, 2016
CU-05. Do you favor or oppose re-establishing U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba?

Favor
Oppose
Don't know/No answer

* TOTAL RESPONDENTS *
Total Rep
Dem Ind
%
%
%
%
58
44
69
57
25
42
16
21
18
15
15
22

Jul15b
%
58
24
18

CU-06. Do you favor or oppose the United States government ending its trade embargo against Cuba?
Favor
Oppose
Don't know/No answer

55
27
18

43
38
19

64
18
17

56
26
18

54
28
18

CU-01. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling relations with Cuba?
Approve
Disapprove
Don't know/No answer

52
30
18

23
55
22

78
12
10

50
28
22

50
31
20

CU-07. What is your overall opinion of Cuba -- very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very
unfavorable?
Very favorable
Mostly favorable
Mostly unfavorable
Very unfavorable
Don't know/No answer

7
44
21
11
18

3
33
34
16
14

8
48
17
11
16

8
46
17
8
21

CU-08. Do you think re-establishing relations between the U.S. and Cuba will be mostly good for the U.S. or mostly bad
for the U.S.?
Good for the U.S.
Bad for the U.S.
Don't know/No answer

62
24
15

49
39
13

72
17
11

62
20
18

CU-09. Do you think re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba will lead to more democracy for Cuba, less
democracy for Cuba, or don't you think it will make much of a difference?
Dec14f
More democracy
40
32
52
36
36
Less democracy
3
3
3
3
5
No difference
50
59
40
52
49
Don't know/No answer
7
6
6
9
9

CU-10. As you may know, since 1966, Cuban citizens who arrive at a U.S. port of entry and pass a criminal and
immigration inspection can stay in the U.S. and apply for legal permanent residence after one year. Do you think this
benefit should still be offered to Cuban immigrants or do you think they should be treated like all other immigrants to
the U.S.?
* TOTAL RESPONDENTS *
Total Rep
Dem Ind
%
%
%
%
23
22
27
21

Should still be offered


Should be treated like all
other immigrants
Don't know/No answer

69
8

72
6

64
9

70
9

CU-11. President Obama has relaxed restrictions on travel to Cuba for US citizens. How interested would you be in
visiting Cuba -- very interested, somewhat interested, not very interested, not at all interested?

Very interested
Somewhat interested
Not very interested
Not at all interested
Don't know/No answer

18
25
17
40
1

7
17
19
57
*

22
27
18
30
2

22
27
14
37
*

10/2014*
%
14
18
17
51
0

*New York Times Poll

CU-12. As you may know, for the past several years the United States has been holding a number of suspected terrorists
at a US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the US should
continue to operate the prison at Guantanamo Bay, or do you think the US should close the prison and transfer the
prisoners somewhere else?

Continue to operate
Close it
Don't know/No answer

52
38
10

74
19
7

38
52
10

48
39
13

UNWEIGHTED
1022

WEIGHTED

Total respondents
Republicans
Democrats
Independents

274
322
426

256
321
445

Jan15b
56
35
9