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Poll: Months After Trump's Loss, Florida's Cubans As 'Trumpista' As Ever

Campaign 2016 Trump Florida
Alan Diaz/AP
A group of Cuban-Americans chant pro Trump slogans as they demonstrate their support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

A new survey shows Cuban-American enthusiasm for Trump and his hardline Cuba policies remains fervent — and that poses a Florida conundrum for President Biden.

If you’re thinking Cuban voter support for former President Trump might have diminished since the November election — think again. A new poll confirms Florida’s Cuban-Americans are as Trumpista as ever — and don’t want President Biden softening Cuba policy.

The Survey of Florida Cuban-American Voters, conducted by the Miami polling firm Bendixen & Amandi International, is the first glimpse at the post-election mindset of that influential bloc — which President Biden lost in November. And it’s not good news for Biden or the Democrats.

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Biden enjoys more than 60% favorability nationally; but only 45% among Florida Cubans. What's more, two-thirds of Cubans here, who voted for Trump, do not accept the results of the November election.

“That’s just staggering, considering that the very reason these people are here by and large is to have fled an authoritarian regime, to seek exile in a free and a democratic society," said Bendixen President Fernand Amandi. "And I think that paints even broader problems and maybe turbulence down the road for the Democrats.”

The immediate problem is whether to revise Trump’s more hardline policy toward communist Cuba. Two-thirds in the poll oppose returning to normalized relations and want to keep the economic embargo.

Biden would like to ease restrictions on U.S. travel to the island again — but 56% oppose that. And 69% support Trump's widely-criticized decision before he left office to put Cuba on the U.S.'s state sponsors of terrorism list — another move Biden has indicated he'll reverse.

“U.S. policy to Cuban is pregnant with political implications given how important Florida's 29 electoral votes still are," Amandi said. "But having said that, Biden — I don’t think — feels any sense of political responsibility to an electorate that went strongly against him in November.”

Most of the Cuban voters polled prefer Spanish-language media — much of which in South Florida has falsely labeled Biden a radical “socialista.”

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.