Like nearly everything in American politics involving President Obama, opinions are highly polarized. Only 34 percent of Republicans have favorable views of Cuba versus 73 percent of Democrats (Gallup, 1021 adults, Feb. 3-7, ±4.0 percentage points).
In terms of national security strategy and economic value, the Cuban rapprochement is small, but in terms of the foreign policy of this administration, it may end up the high point in public approval. Very few of the administration’s policies or reactions to international crises have been judged by the public as successful.
The President would like to end the trade embargo as he stated in his last State of the Union address, and the American people agree 59 percent to 29 percent (Gallup, Feb. 3-7, ±4.0 percentage points).
Let me give you another example. Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, and set us back in Latin America. That’s why we restored diplomatic relations -- (applause) -- opened the door to travel and commerce, positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people. (Applause.) So if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the Cold War is over -- lift the embargo. (Applause.)