WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans largely approve of the thawing relationship between the United States and Cuba, with most thinking the U.S. should lift its longstanding trade embargo against the island nation, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
What Americans think about the opening dialogue with Cuba:
—Nearly half of Americans — 45 percent — say they approve of the two nations re-establishing diplomatic ties, while only 15 percent disapprove. Two-thirds of Democrats are on board with the decision, but Republicans are more closely divided, with about a third approving and a third disapproving.
—Most Americans want the United States to go further, with 60 percent saying that the U.S. should remove its trade embargo against Cuba and only 35 percent saying the embargo should stay in place. Republicans are again more closely divided on the issue, with half in favor and half opposed. A majority of conservative Republicans, but only 4 in 10 moderate and liberal Republicans, think the embargo should be kept in place. Three-quarters of Democrats favor lifting it.
—Americans don't necessarily see a more open relationship with Cuba as a panacea for the Cuban people. They're slightly more likely to think that freedoms for people in Cuba will stay about the same than more freedoms resulting from a more open relationship, 49 percent to 44 percent. Most Democrats think it will result in more freedoms, while most Republicans are skeptical. Two-thirds of those who approve of re-establishing ties say doing so will result in more freedoms, while two-thirds of those who disapprove or don't approve say they don't expect things to change.
—If they could get tourist visas to travel there, 12 percent of Americans say they would be very or extremely likely to visit Cuba, with another 17 percent saying they would be moderately likely to go. Nearly a quarter of those who are happy with more open ties with Cuba say they'd likely travel there if they could.
—Americans aren't closely following the loosening relationship between the United States and Cuba. Half of them say they're following the story not too closely or not closely at all.
The AP-GfK Poll of 1,045 adults was conducted online Jan. 29-Feb. 2, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.
AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com