During Barack Obama’s presidency, studies, exit polls and voting patterns indicated that the exiled community’s hardline positions about Cuba had begun to soften, prompting Obama to make a historic visit to the island in early 2016 — a move that brought a torrent of criticism from Florida Republicans including then-Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio.
But now 66 percent of those polled by Bendixen & Amandi International opposed reverting back to Obama policies toward Cuba. In a poll done by the same group in 2015, 51 percent backed the former president’s effort. The new poll also showed a major shift in support for keeping the decades-old trade embargo against Cuba. Six years ago, only 36 percent favored retaining the embargo. Now 66 percent say they favor keeping it in place. The poll also found a majority — 56 percent — oppose easing travel restrictions.
“We see the Cuban-American electorate has recalibrated and defaulted back to the hardline positions,” said Fernand Amandi, president of Bendixen & Amandi, who called it a “Back to the Future” moment for Cuban-Americans where their positions are similar to the ones they held in the 1980s and 1990s.