President Trump has said Cuban voters won Florida for him in 2016 because he promised to roll back normalized relations with communist Cuba begun by his predecessor, Barack Obama. A new FIU poll looked at whether Miami Cubans are really that conservative today. The answer is yes and no. But mostly no.
More than half of Miami-Dade County’s population is Cuban, so Florida International University’s polls of that group garner a lot of attention. The newest FIU survey, The 2018 FIU CubaPoll, is the first taken since President Trump was inaugurated two years ago. And the findings are decidedly mixed – especially by generation.
One significant shift: Among older Miami Cubans – those who arrived here before 1980 – support for the U.S. trade embargo against communist Cuba has risen by 10 points under Trump. Younger and more recently arrived Miami Cubans still favor ending the embargo. Overall, the Cuban community is now evenly split over the issue. (FIU's 2016 poll showed a majority of Miami Cubans opposed the embargo.)
Sociologist Guillermo Grenier headed the poll for FIU’s School of International and Public Affairs.
“The kumbaya times of Obama have given way to a more hostile environment under Trump," said FIU sociologist Guillermo Grenier, who headed the poll for the university's School of International and Public Affairs. "And the old guard that was giving Obama a chance changed its mind.”
Grenier also pointed out more Miami Cuban voters are registering as independents and Democrats today. But despite that they’re still casting ballots overwhelmingly for Republicans.
Still, Grenier said the new poll indicates the future trend for Miami Cubans is a less Republican community that favors engagement with Cuba. Most of the younger and more recently arrived cohort favors expanding U.S. business with Cuba and allowing unrestricted U.S. travel to the island.
“That’s the future, I mean, we’re not making any more of the old guard, right?" Grenier said. "In the long run, I think the community is shifting in the direction that the trends are indicating.
President Trump has made it somewhat harder for Americans to travel to and do business with Cuba.