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President Biden receives poor marks from Cuban American voters, many of whom want Trump on the ballot in 2024

President Biden receives poor marks from Cuban American voters, many of whom want Trump on the ballot in 2024

FIU’s 2022 Cuba Poll shows strong support for Republican candidates, with Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio expected to win a majority of the Cuban American vote in the midterms

October 25, 2022 at 10:32am

Most Cuban Americans in South Florida give President Biden poor marks for his handling of key issues facing the country, while a majority of Republican voters surveyed say they want to see former President Donald Trump on the ballot in 2024.

Although Biden’s national approval rating of 42% places him in the company of most previous presidents going into the midterm elections, only 32% of Cuban Americans give President Biden a positive job approval rating. Additionally, 37% of Cuban Americans surveyed would like to see former President Donald Trump back on the ballot, with most registered Republicans (59%) saying they support Trump.

The 2022 FIU Cuba Poll, the longest running survey of Cuban American voters in the country, shows the Republican Party remains the party of preference among voters of Cuban descent in South Florida, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio expected to receive about 64% of the Cuban American vote in the midterm election in November.

“It seems the train of the Republican Party is still picking up passengers on Calle Ocho,” said Guillermo Grenier, lead investigator on the Cuba Poll and a professor of sociology in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, which sponsors the poll along with FIU’s Cuban Research Institute. “They remain loyal to the Republican Party and the Trump version of it.”
Republicans continue to maintain a slight majority among registered Cuban American voters (52%) and are generating new support from the island’s more recent arrivals. Fifty-four percent of registered voters who arrived since 2015 say they are registered Republicans.

Republican Congressional candidates on the ballot in November are also expected to receive strong support from Cuban Americans, with 52% of voters reporting they will cast a vote for the Republican candidate in their district.
The economy, health care and immigration are the issues of most concern to Cuban Americans, with immigration appearing in the top three for the first time since the poll began in 1991.  
On the issue of the U.S. embargo of Cuba, 63% of Cuban Americans in South Florida support its continuation, although they also show relatively high support for some Biden-era engagement policies such as the selling of food (64% support) and medicine (72% support) to the island, as well as resumption of airline travel to all regions of the island (71% support).
“The findings of this year’s FIU Cuba Poll suggest the need for the Biden administration to chart a clear, calibrated course between Obama-era engagement policies and Trump-era isolationist policies toward Cuba,’’ said Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute at FIU. “The status quo in U.S.-Cuba relations pleases neither advocates of ‘normalizing’ bilateral ties nor of applying ‘maximum pressure’ to promote the island’s democratization. How to actively support the Cuban people (without ‘oxygenating’ the current regime) within the existing legal and political framework of the United States is the Gordian knot of U.S. policy toward Cuba.”

Cuban Americans also overwhelmingly support the resumption of consular services and the issuance of visas at the U.S. Embassy in Havana (82%), as well as resumption of the Family Reunification Parole Program (92%) that allows certain eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for expedited immigration visas for their family members in Cuba. “In the absence of a significant shift in the narrative on Cuba policy coming from Washington, the Cuban American community remains ambivalent about its policy preferences,” added Grenier. “On the one hand, the traditional isolationist line remains strong while there is support for policies that support the Cuban people during this difficult time.”