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Voters in four ‘heartland’ states favor Obama policy on Cuba – poll

Voters in four ‘heartland’ states favor Obama policy on Cuba: poll
By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA (Reuters) – Solid majorities of likely U.S. voters in Ohio,
Indiana, Iowa and Tennessee favor diplomatic relations with Cuba and an
end to trade and travel restrictions with the Communist-ruled island, a
poll by the Atlantic Council showed on Tuesday.

The poll targeted states that are seen as leaning Republican or states
that could swing to either major party in the November 2016 U.S.
presidential election. The council called them “heartland” states,
located in the Midwest and South.

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed approve of the restoration of
diplomatic ties, which was achieved in July, versus 26 percent who
disapprove. The respondents favor ending the trade embargo, which
remains in place, by 58 percent to 35 percent. The poll showed 67
percent favor ending current restrictions on Americans traveling to
Cuba, compared to 28 percent in opposition.

Last December U.S. President Barack Obama reversed the policy of 10
previous presidents by engaging with Cuba as he and Cuban President Raul
Castro pledged to restore diplomatic relations.

Obama’s call to lift the trade embargo has been blocked by the
Republican-controlled Congress, as has a separate measure to allow
Americans to go to Cuba as tourists.

The poll showed Republicans and conservatives still opposed Obama over
the embargo by 9 and 17 points, respectively, but they sided with him or
were closely split on restoring diplomatic relations and ending travel
restrictions.

“You would be hard-pressed to find any other Obama administration policy
with this much Republican support,” Peter Schechter, director of the
Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, said in a statement.

For decades both parties heeded the pro-embargo lobby led by
Cuban-Americans in and around Miami, mindful of their fund-raising
ability and sway in the swing state of Florida. But in 2012, Obama split
the Cuban-American vote, and subsequent polls showed Cuban-Americans
tilting in favor of normalizing relations.

Most of the Republican presidential contenders maintain the party’s
historic support of the embargo and isolation of the former Cold War
adversary, notably the Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz
and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Within the four states, Ohio voters showed the most sympathy to the
Obama policies and Tennessee voters the least.

The Atlantic Council said its survey, taken Oct. 15-18 by Republican
pollster Glen Bolger, questioned 150 likely voters in each state and had
a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: Voters in four ‘heartland’ states favor Obama policy on Cuba:
poll – Yahoo News –
news.yahoo.com/voters-four-heartland-states-favor-obama-policy-cuba-150627760.html

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